I can think of no better way to welcome in fall than with this pasta tossed in squash ‘sauce’ with shrimp, garlic and basil. When my eyes fell upon the glorious piles of multi-colored winter squash newly laid out in the market I did a little happy dance right then and there. I love this small window of time when the seasonal produce available overlaps. Farm fresh zucchini and butternut all in the same shopping trip? Life is good.
The sweet and salty sauce is made with roasted butternut and acorn squash pureed with Parmesan cheese and light heavy cream or milk. You have total control over the consistency of the sauce. Thin or thick, smooth or chunky, you decide. There’s a chance you may be thinking that shrimp and squash are weird together, but don’t. Because they’re not. The shrimp are pan-fried with garlic and then everything is tossed together with fresh basil for a well rounded meal that’s a cinch to make.
The acorn squash colors the sauce so that it mimics mac and cheese. It’s tricky. Mild-flavored, rich and creamy, with chewy pasta and succulent shrimp, this is a near perfect bowl of pasta to curl up with on a crisp fall night.
Pasta with Winter Squash and Shrimp
(adapted from Giada De Laurentiis)
1 small butternut squash, halved, cleaned of seeds
1 small acorn squash, halved, cleaned of seeds
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
sea or kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
12 ounces pasta (like barila whole grain rotini or penne)
3/4 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails off
1 cup light heavy cream or milk, plus more if needed
1/4 cup Parmesan, plus more for serving
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place squash cut side up, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake until fork tender. The acorn squash might cook quicker, remove carefully to a plate and set aside.
2. When cool enough to handle scoop out the squash and add it to a blender of a large food processor. Add the cream and Parmesan, puree until smooth. Add as much milk as needed for a nice creamy consistency, as thin or as thick as you like. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Cook the pasta in plenty of salted water to al dente according to package directions.
4. Meanwhile in a large skillet heat 2-3 tablespoon olive oil over medium-low heat. Add garlic, carefully add prawns, season with salt and pepper and cook until pink, tossing a few times, about 3 minutes, depending on size. Remove from heat.
5. Drain the pasta and add back to the pan along with the squash, prawns and basil. Toss well over low heat, adding more cream if needed. Serve immediately.
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What do you like best about fall? Let me know in your comment.