Penne with Winter Squash and Ricotta
Serves 3 to 4
The idea of combining pasta and squash comes from the kitchens of northern Italy. I've added ricotta to make the dish more substantial. A generous quantity of toasted hazelnuts provides agreeable crunch to this otherwise mellow dish.
The squash is cut into two sizes. The smaller pieces "melt down" and blend with the ricotta to create a pale orange sauce that coats the penne. The larger pieces break up into small chunks and offer dots of bright color. Serve as an entree accompanied by a crisp salad.
5 minutes high pressure
2-1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, halved, and seeded
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
1 cup coarsely chopped onions
3 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt (omit if using salty broth)
12 ounces penne or other short, cut pasta that normally cooks in 9 to 13 minutes
1 cup ricotta (whole-fat or low-fat)
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon ground sage
2 to 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup grated parmesan, plus more to pass at the table
1 cup toasted hazelnuts or walnuts (see page 19 of book), coarsely chopped
Cut half the squash into 3/4 -inch chunks and the remaining squash into 2-inch pieces. Set aside.
Heat the butter in a 6-quart or larger cooker. Stir in the onions, chicken broth, salt (if using), and smaller pieces of squash. Bring to a boil and add the pasta. (It's okay if all of the pasta is not covered with liquid.) Set the remaining squash on top.
Lock the lid in place. Over high heat bring to high pressure. Reduce the heat just enough to maintain high pressure and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat. Quick-release the pressure. Remove the lid, tilting it away from you to allow steam to escape.
Add the ricotta, sage and parsley to taste, and the parmesan. Stir gently until some of the squash dissolves. Break apart any pasta that is stuck together.
Let the dish rest in the cooker for 3 to 5 minutes so that the flavors can meld. If the pasta is not uniformly tender, replace the lid during this period and set the cooker over very low heat, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is done.
Stir in the toasted nuts. Serve in large, shallow bowls. Pass additional parmesan at the table.
Vegetarian Version: Use vegetable broth instead of chicken.
Brown 1/2 pound ground pork or veal in oil before adding onions.
Instead of sage, use dried oregano or freshly grated nutmeg to taste.
Use a kabocha squash instead of butternut. Kabocha (also called Hokkaido pumpkin) is available in some supermarkets and many health food stores. It is not necessary to peel kabocha; just scrub well and trim off any blemishes.
Two Hour Taste in Twenty Minutes Using Your Pressure Cooker
by Lorna J. Sass
Hardcover, 368 pages
$24.95; $38.95 (CAN)
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created March 2004