Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Orecchiette, Butternut Squash and Kale Pasta

Does anyone else not want to look at food at the moment?  I don't even want to eat anymore but I have to suck it up and eat again because we are having our Pig Roast and tamales on Friday.

I have a couple of new desserts that I'm trying out on Friday so cross your fingers we get a bit of sunlight so I can get a photo of them.  All etiquette is going out the window too, if I have to cut those desserts up and taste test them I will.

Feeling bloated and miserable from the previous weeks' food extravaganza I had this bright idea to get in some exercise and a vacation at the same time.  I suggested Disneyland to the family.  We can admire all the holiday lights and soak up some of Southern California's sunshine while we are at it I promised them.

I should mention that there was a huge flaw in my bright idea.  That flaw was that the rest of the universe had the same bright idea and they all descended upon Disneyland like a swarm of locusts.

Turning what could have been the "Happiest place on earth" into the "Scariest place on earth."  For the record, I have nothing against people who need motorized scooters to get around.  I just wonder if they got the memo it's to be of assistance, not to run down the innocent.  If I'd of had a toddler in tow I would have feared for their safety.

We decided to make the best of it anyways or should I say I forced the family too.  I demanded they "Suck it up and slap fake smiles on their faces."  Not my finest I assure you, it usually takes more than that to break me, but I don't care how old the kids are (hot dog dude included) two hour ride waits, broken down rides, being shoved by strangers, and lines too long to get overpriced lackluster food is just too much to take sometimes.  If a park employee had been walking around asking for volunteers to leave and they would get a refund, I would have been shouting, "Me, me, me."

It probably didn't help that I had been dreaming of lying on a beach with warm tropical breezes, palm trees swaying in the background and a nice cold Pina Colada in my hand.  Instead of being plummeted from 100 feet in the air at warp speed to what I was sure was certain death.  Although the kids sure did think it was fun, or maybe it was me they were laughing at.

Orecchiette, Butternut Squash and Kale Pasta
1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2" cubes
1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped
4 ounces chopped pancetta
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
3 tablespoons butter
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound orecchiette pasta
1/2 cup pasta water - reserved
Grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (if you don't the butternut squash will stick badly). Place the cubed butternut squash on the tray and bake for 25-30 minutes until tender.  Stick a knife in a piece and if it goes in easily it is ready.  Let cool and set aside.

Put a large pot of water with a little salt on to boil.  Once the water is boiling, drop the pasta in and stir, cook for 8-10 minutes.

To a large skillet add the olive oil and pancetta and cook on medium heat until the pancetta is barely starting to brown.  Add the garlic and turn the heat down to medium-low.  Stir for a minute then add the kale, put a lid on the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring after each minute. Add salt and pepper now.

Once the kale is wilted add the butternut squash to the skillet, add the butter and pasta water and stir together, then add the drained pasta.  Stir gently so you don't break up the squash.  Top with grated parmesan cheese.

Serves 4.

Try this pasta, it's much tastier and way less scarier than those roller coasters.  If you happen to be in the neighborhood on Friday, I happen to know where there will be a ton of food just waiting to get eaten.




  1. Too funny Gina! Welcome home where things are less crazy and the food is definitely way better!!! I will try your pasta, it looks amazing my dear;-)

  2. Really enjoyed your post Gina;Hope weather works out for you on Friday. Love Orecchiette;what a cute pasta; I have to add kale to our menu and this recipe sounds perfect.
    Thank you.

  3. Glad you saved the squash for after the roller coaster! I know what you mean about feeling bloated from the food extravaganza...seems like from Thanksgiving till New Year's it's a non-stop feeding frenzy! I'm craving veggies and crisp fresh salads! Your orecchiette dish looks like the perfect remedy...and as always your photo is gorgeous! Your beauty and talents always shine! I'm blessed to know you!
    Here's to a fabulous year! xoxo

  4. Happy New Year! This looks delicious. Mr. S likes all three of those ingredients, so I will definitely be giving this a try! Thanks for another great recipe.

  5. Your welcome Mrs. S. So nice to be back in my kitchen.

  6. I don't think I have ever been to Disneyland when it was not packed...hope you had a great time despite the scary people :)
    This pasta dish looks amazing, all of that gorgeous color...delicious!
    Happy 2012 sweetie, hope you are having a great week!

  7. The pasta looks so flavourful with roasted butternut squash. Gotta get some kale later today too.
    Happy New Year, Gina!

  8. This looks gorgeous! Looks like orecchiette are getting more (deserved) attention, and the butternut squash makes for a vibrant, and I bet delicious dish. Great post! :)

  9. Oh Gina, this pasta looks amazing! It is so colorful and full of vitamins and goodness! That's a great picture of you guys on California Screamin'!

  10. This dish looks bright and tasty. I commend you for going to Disneyland that place is overwhelming for me. I have yet to take the kids there as I don't have it in me to not have a personal melt down inside the park lol.

  11. So much for the palm trees and the beach, huh? You and your family deserve a medal for surviving the onslaught of people at Disneyland, and Roller Coaster, yikes! At least you came home to a calmer environment, and this yummy pasta dish!

  12. Happy 2012 Gina! Your post is so funny. We have also experienced the worse of holidays a couple of times either on the road or in the airports, I can totally imagine how crazy it must have been in Disneyland!
    Hope you have a great start of the year. It seems you are already having feasts coming up before taking a break.:-) This dish is also very comforting and so many vegetables are good after meat-ful holidays. Till soon.

  13. Happy 2012, Gina! Reading through this post reminded me of how much I've missed your blog.. It was such a fun read :D This pasta looks absolutely yummy! I've been away from blogging for a while now, and I must sit down and browse through all your posts that I've missed! :)

  14. Aww, despite the crowds, it looks like you all had a good time! This pasta sounds perfectly balanced and healthy to boot =)

  15. Disneyland in California sounds pretty cool.. hopefully ibe able to try it someday
    Ymmy pastas by the way


  16. This looks really great! I love the kale pasta

  17. Gina your roller coaster photo has me cracking up :) I am afraid of them so my expression would be worst. Too bad about the crowds but at least you had your family together. The pasta looks mouthwatering, I'll have to look for some butternut to try it.

  18. I'm with eyes would have been closed, too, but I would have been screaming!!! Your pasta looks full of yummy veggies :)

  19. Congrats on the Top 9 today!

  20. Gina this post had me cracking up! "Scariest place on earth" The pasta looks fantastic! Love all the colors & beautiful photos!

  21. Your recipe sounds way better than your day at Disney! OMG where you there the day that made the national news? I saw a news report about DL being over crowded, and it really did look scary!

  22. Incredible pasta recipe... wow! Beautiful post.

  23. Thanks everyone, what a nice surprise today with Top 9! Yes Jill that was the day we were there, my sister-in-law saw that story one the news too.

  24. well deserved on the top 9....this photo is fantastic, the colors are gorgeous, and I am DEFINITELY going to put this on my "list" of things to make SOON!!!!!! Your roller coaster pic brought such a smile to my face :) Oh how I wish I could put in my application to be your massive cookie making assistant....I am in awe of how many cookies you made this year....and secretly wishing I could have been helping you this past holiday so I can sneak some tastes in!!!! wishing you the most wonderful new year, filled with joy and laughter, good health and happiness.....have a glorious week sweet bella

  25. Happy 2012 and Welcome Back Gina!! You know I can totally relate to your experience in Disneyland. My parents decided to treat us to Hong Kong Disneyland back on Dec 17, 2007 and there was a crowd. I am usually turned off by ppl who pushes etc. But since it was my Bday, I sucked it up. The best part, my parents casually forgot that it was my big day on that very day. Disneyland.. sure is land where dreams come true but I think it removed my parents memory of their daughter's Bday. Btw,I am so chicken that I have fear or riding roller coasters. You my friend sure take living life to the next whole new level! Oh! lovely recipe too.. apologise for my mere rants.. Hugggsss

  26. As for Disney World in Orlando, we get the biggest crowds during the holidays and summer season...actually slows down a bit around this time. Disney World is so enormous that somehow I would think it would be strange not to have a lot of long as they don't "push" I'm fine with the crowd!

    Your pasta is so beautiful, colorful, hearty, and super delicious...I would welcome this to my WW diet:DDD

  27. This looks delicious! I have been craving both kale and squash. This is officially on the menu this week!

  28. we're thinking of taking Tiffany to Disney this year, well, still staying on the East Coast. Maybe next year visit the West Coast.
    Your pasta is perfect for a weeknight dish!


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