A larder rich with choices not only makes for more creative cooking, it also comforts us with the knowledge that, should we not have the time to shop, or are rushed to prepare dinner, a deliciously satisfying meal can still be created on the spot.
In this spirit, St. Helena Olive Oil Co. has created a series of flavorful sauces and condiments such as the butternut squash pasta sauce used in the following recipes. While this slightly chunky purée delivers the creamy sweetness we love in butternut squash, its all-organic ingredients list of roasted red bell peppers, onion, and garlic lends it a tangy counterbalance that makes for a wonderfully versatile flavor vehicle.
Butternut Squash Rigatoni
Here’s the ultimate in simplicity for those rushed evenings we all face now and then. While the entire dish takes only 20 minutes or so to make, the result is very satisfying —quick and nourishing comfort food for a chilly autumn or winter’s night. Note that we like to finish this off with Sevillano Varietal California Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which has a bright grassiness that really enhances the flavors of the pasta sauce.
1 lb. rigatoni
1/2 cup (or more to suit your taste) Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce
1 tablespoon Sevillano Varietal California Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Organic Grey Sea Salt
Organic Fleur de Sel
Chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, chives, or parsley
Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Toss in the sea salt, followed by the rigatoni. (Helpful hint: if you’re having trouble keeping the water at a healthy boil, place the lid on the pot to either fully or partially cover.) Stir occasionally. When the pasta is cooked through but still toothsome, drain while retaining roughly a cup or so of the pasta water. Return the pasta to the pot, and stir in the butternut squash sauce. You may now also add back in a ladleful or two of the hot pasta water, depending on your preference for the thickness of the sauce. Fold the sauce into the pasta, and scoop into bowls. To finish, grate fresh Parmesan over the pasta, drizzle with a generous gurgle of olive oil, a dusting of the chopped herbs, and a zing of organic fleur de sel.
Serves 2 – 4 as a main course, and 6 as a starter course
White Beans and Sausage
Here’s a terrific way to incorporate the sauce into another starch vehicle, while enhancing the flavor with sausages (optional, of course, for vegetarians).
1 cup Cannellini or other creamy white beans
1 small yellow or red onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 celery stock, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Buona Volontà Napa Valley Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 high quality sausages (may we suggest Italian or Toulouse style from Oxbow Market’s The Fatted Calf)
½ cup Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce
Organic Grey Sea Salt
Rinse the beans, place in a bowl, and soak, just covered with water for 6 hours. Heat the oil over medium heat, add the vegetables, and cook for approximately 3 – 5 minutes until they begin to soften. Add the beans, stir, and cover the mixture in one-inch of water. Turn the heat to high, and bring the water to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low, and simmer the beans for one to two hours, until soft but not mushy. Add a pinch of salt and stir.
In the meanwhile, bring the sausages to room temperature. About twenty minutes before the beans are finished cooking, lightly prick and then broil the sausages for approximately five minutes on each side. Let rest for five minutes, and slice into 1-inch chunks.
Fold the butternut squash sauce into the beans, spoon the beans into bowls, and dot with the sausage meat. Serve with a salad of peppery dandelion greens or arugula.
This delightful dish can be served anytime of day, and makes a surprisingly intimate dinner for two.
Poach eggs until cooked to your liking. Carefully place in a bowl. Spoon a few healthy dollops of butternut squash sauce over the eggs, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle over a pinch of fleur de sel. Embellish as you will with bacon, sausage, crostini, and/or greens.