Happy Autumn Equinox!

This equinox promises to have quite a turnout for Hartwood Grove’s celebration.  We keep the lesser Sabbats as ‘open circles’ where we can invite friends, family, and acquaintances that might have an interest in Wicca, and we turn them into potluck feasts.  Since we’ve got a strong outer court with lots of friendly family, it’s looking like this might be the first lesser Sabbat in a long time where there’s more than just a handful of us.  I love big gatherings!

I’ve been asked to bring a pasta salad, and I wracked my head trying to come up with a season-appropriate one.  Eventually, I turned to the Internet and very quickly found a fantastic butternut squash salad on the website Budget Bytes.  It’s so good, I’m sharing it here as well as with my circle tonight.

This is Budget Bite's photo of the salad.  Gorgeous!

This is Budget Byte’s photo of the salad. Gorgeous!

Butternut Squash Pasta Salad

  • 1 (3 lb.) butternut squash
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 pound pasta (orecchiette or shells)
  • ½ bunch fresh parsley
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ¾ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • up to ½ cup raspberry vinaigrette (optional)
  • to taste salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Cut the ends off of the squash to provide a flat, stable surface. Stand the squash on one end and use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin. Slice a few rounds off of the small end to shorten the squash, and then cut down through the center of the thick end to expose the center. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and center pulp. Cut the remaining squash into small cubes.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the cubed squash, sage, salt & pepper (a generous sprinkle). Saute until the squash is tender (about 10-15 min). They will looks slightly translucent and will start to smash a little like a cooked potato. Taste a cube or two to make sure they’re cooked through. Turn the heat off.
  3. While the squash is cooking, cook the pasta. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add a generous sprinkle of salt to the pasta water for flavor. Cook the pasta according to the package directions (boil for 7-10 minutes or until al dente). Drain the pasta.
  4. Once the squash is tender and the pasta is drained, add the pasta, cranberries, and chopped parsley to the pot. Stir to combine.
  5. Drizzle the last 2 tablespoons of olive oil over everything and add salt and pepper to taste. Lastly, stir in the shredded Parmesan and the vinaigrette. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  6. Note:  if using the raspberry vinaigrette, the pasta will turn pink.
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