Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Multi-Grain Pasta with Lamb and Butternut Squash

If not for needing to roast the squash, this is a very quick dish to make. It's also remarkably hearty and flavourful. I doubled the recipe expecting it not to go very far and found instead that making the full box of pasta was entirely too much food (the undoubled version is below and serves 4 - 6). Luckily, this recipe was a success. The meat in the dish is more of an accent. Some reviewers suggested putting it on top of couscous which I don't think would be bad either.

The original recipe calls for kasseri cheese, but I substituted feta. I also didn't need any reserved pasta water and found that a common point in the reviews, so I've omitted it from the recipe below.

Multi-Grain Pasta with Lamb and Butternut Squash (from Love and Olive Oil, originally epicurious)

1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (4 to 5 cups)
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
250g ground lamb
2 1/2 cups chopped onions
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes with added puree
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
250g multi-grain penne pasta
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
1/2 cup crumbled feta (or grated kasseri) cheese, divided

1. Preheat oven to 450°.
2. Toss squash with 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in large bowl. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. T
3. ransfer squash to large rimmed baking sheet. Roast until tender and brown around edges, using metal spatula to turn occasionally, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
5. Add lamb and onions; sauté until lamb browns and onions soften, 7 to 8 minutes.
6. Add garlic and next 3 ingredients; stir 1 minute.
7. Stir in tomatoes, then broth and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits.
8. Reduce heat; simmer until mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.
9. Stir in squash. Season with salt and pepper.
10. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Return pasta to pot.
11. Add lamb mixture, half of cilantro, and half of cheese; toss. Season with salt and pepper.
12. Transfer pasta to bowl. Sprinkle with remaining cilantro and cheese.

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