I have resisted pasta for many years. Other people can’t get enough of it – I could take it or leave it. But life in our household has been pretty crazy lately, and I have been embracing pasta as a way to get dinner on the table relatively quickly instead of having to resort to eating crackers. (It’s happened.)
I think the problem is I’m not really a fan of traditional spaghetti sauce. My husband has taken to complaining that we never have a jar of spaghetti sauce in the house (he asked if we could make a bid for normalcy and just have a jar of Prego), while I’ve never felt the lack. Once I started to move away from the tomato sauces, pasta got a lot more interesting.
This one was inspired by a gorgeous wheel of Irish Cashel Blue cheese that the kind folks at Kerrygold USA sent me. I’ve been a fan of their grass fed butter for years, but I won a year’s supply of butter and cheese at the Big Traveling Potluck and that has made be a convert to their amazing Irish cheeses. They have several cheddar and cheddar type cheeses that are amazing, but my favorite is probably the Cashel Blue. I shared the wheel with family members but immediately regretted it – I wanted more blue cheese for myself! Even my mom, who has been a diehard French Roquefort snob for years said this is her new favorite blue.
I wanted a dish that was easy enough for a weeknight meal, but showcased some of the amazing flavors of the cheese. This one is adapted from a Nigel Slater recipe for pasta with a spinach and blue cheese sauce, and rounded out the flavor with some roasted butternut squash. The result is a dish that’s easy enough for a weeknight, but a far cry from a jar of Prego on pasta. And the husband had no complaints.
- 8 oz. butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes
- Olive Oil
- 4 oz. uncooked rotini pasta
- Salt and Pepper
- 8 oz. fresh baby spinach leaves
- ½ cup cream
- 4 oz. Cashel Blue Cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the butternut squash with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper, and spread on a cookie sheet. Roast until tender and browned, stirring once or twice, about 15 minutes
- Meanwhile, heat the pasta water and cook the pasta according to package directions.
- Rinse the spinach in water. In a saucepan with a lid, wilt the spinach. Add the cream, and blue cheese and cook over low heat until the cheese is melted.
- Toss the cooked pasta, spinach cheese sauce, and butternut squash. Serve immediately.