Eric and I totally ganked this recipe from Heidi’s list of vegetarian Thanksgiving ideas. She’s the one who introduced me to delicata squash, and I’m never going back: there is no easier winter squash to chop (all other behemoth squashes are handled by Eric, while I nervously hover). Anyway, this is a hearty and filling winter dish with just the right amount of garlicky tang. I didn’t garlicky was technically a word, but spellcheck isn’t correcting it, so…huzzah!
You start by roasting the squash with some shallots and garlic. Next time I think I will toss in some little potatoes too. And maybe some chopped brussels sprouts. I like to live on the edge.
The kale also gets a few minutes of roasting, to make it nice and crunchy.
Heidi’s recipe calls for orzo, but I couldn’t find any at our all-purpose store, so I got these little guys: acini de pepe. The name means peppercorns, and they do like tiny pellets when uncooked. As you can see, they cook up to about the size of Israeli couscous, which would also be really good here.
A garlic yogurt sauce ties the dish together, but if you don’t like garlic, I think lemon would be delicious too. This recipe is a template, in the best possible way, and I think that’s the way Heidi intended it. Make it your own, and enjoy!
Roasted Winter Vegetable Pasta
Lightly adapted from 101 Cookbooks
1 medium delicata squash, seeded & sliced 1/3-inch thick
3 shallots, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil or melted clarified butter
fine grain sea salt
4 medium cloves garlic, peel on
12 kale leaves, washed & dried well, de-stemmed & cut into 3-inch strips
1 1/2 cups / 9 ounces uncooked orzo pasta (or acini de pepe or Israeli couscous)
1/2 cup / 120 ml plain yogurt
For serving: slivered scallions, fresh oregano, toasted nuts or seeds
-Preheat the oven to 400F / 205C with racks arranged in the top and bottom thirds. Line two baking sheets with parchment. You’re going to roast the squash, shallots, and garlic on one sheet, and the kale on another.
-Prep the delicata squash, and toss it in a large bowl with the shallots, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and a big pinch of salt. Arrange in a single layer on one of the baking sheets, add the garlic and place on the bottom rack, for about 30 minutes. Spin once or twice along the way to get even roasting – let it all get deeply golden.
-After the squash is in the oven, use the same bowl to toss the kale with another splash of olive, and pinch of salt. Arrange the leaves on the other baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, or until you get a touch of browning, but the leaves are primarily still green. Set aside.
-Get the pasta water boiling, salt well, and cook the orzo pasta. Drain and use quickly (warm) OR (if you won’t be serving for a while) run under cold water, and toss with a tiny splash of olive oil.
-For the dressing, extract the roasted garlic from its peel, and mash it with a bit of the yogurt and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Work in the rest of the yogurt, taste, and add more salt if needed.
-When you’re ready to serve, toss the orzo, and roasted vegetables with about half of the yogurt. Turn out onto a platter and sprinkle with scallions, oregano, and seeds/nuts. Serve the remaining yogurt to the side.