Orecchiette with Roasted Butternut Squash, Kale, and Caramelized Red Onions

I want to start off by saying that I am shocked by how long it has taken me to post. It is truly embarrassing. Yes, I have been busy the past three months. My husband (yay!) got a job in Charlottesville and in two weeks, we packed up our 800 square foot DC apartment with a shocking amount of boxes (how did we fit everything in that tiny place?!?) and moved to the “country”. There was also our wedding which took place on October 30th and was perfect. Oh, and the amazing honeymoon which I didn’t want to come back from. And all of a sudden, the holidays were here, and I realized that I am not only officially behind on thank you notes, but that I had neglected my cooking blog for THREE whole months. Oof.

So now I am finally back. But before we get into the the recipe, I want to take a quick minute to tell you about Share Our Holiday Table which I am participating in on December 13th (check back that day for a brand, new post on Holiday Sides)!  Share Our Strength is hosting a virtual, progressive holiday dinner with more than 50 bloggers to raise awareness of their amazing cause—to end child hunger by 2015. Check out all of the participating bloggers here and look for my holiday side next week!

Now back to food. I have to preface this recipe with the fact that I have a minor obsession with butternut squash. A does not like it nearly as much as I do. In fact, he really doesn’t like it all (how can this be??). After I had made two butternut squash pasta dishes and butternut squash soup in a short, two week span, he finally let me down gently. He hated the stuff. Sigh. But he kindly ate this dish, and I devoured mine…three days in a row (since A doesn’t like butternut that means more leftovers for me!). If you don’t adore the flavor of butternut squash, then you can certainly cut the amount of butternut squash in half. I would simply roast it and lightly toss it with the finished pasta so it retains its shape.

Orecchiette with Roasted Butternut Squash, Kale, and Caramelized Red Onions

{Serves 4}

1 large butternut squash, diced into small squares
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 red onion, sliced thinly
1 bunch kale
1/2 pound orecchiette
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinches cayenne pepper
1 ounce goat cheese (optional)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sage
Parmesan cheese (to serve)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss all but 1 cup of butternut squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, pepper, pinch of cayenne pepper, and nutmeg. Roast until butternut squash are tender and caramelized but still hold their shape, about 30 minutes. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook sliced red onions until caramelized, about 30 minutes. Set aside.

Heat a pot of water over high heat until boiling. Salt water generously. Cook orecchiette according to package instructions, until al dente.

Meanwhile, heat one tablespoon olive oil in a heavy pan over medium-high heat. Cook the remaining cup of butternut squash for approximately 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add 1/2 cup chicken broth and cook until broth is almost completely absorbed. Remove middle stem from kale and roughly chop. Add kale to butternut squash and stir until kale has softened. Add caramelized red onions. Add white wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add remaining chicken broth and reduce, about 10 minutes.

Turn heat to low and add heavy cream. When pasta is al dente, add it to the pan with the sauce. Add roasted butternut squash. Loosen sauce with pasta water if needed. Sprinkle with goat cheese (optional), parmesan cheese, and sage.

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