Next week is probably one of the largest American eating weeks of the year. Diets get tossed aside for a week to gorge with family and friends. I’m 100% in support of all of that.
But might I suggest that you start the week with something somewhat healthy? If you can have a few healthy meals at the beginning of the week than your conscience can breath easily as you stuff your gullet with turkey come next Thursday.
You guys voted overwhelmingly for a healthy soup to accomplish this goal and this one is amazing. After we had it for dinner one night this week, Betsy smartly snagged all the leftovers for lunch the next few days.
1) Peel butternut squash and then dice it into 1/4 inch cubes. Cook pasta according to directions.
2) Add oil to a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add onions and cook for a few minutes until they are soft.
3) Add garlic, rosemary, and squash. Continue to cook until squash starts to soften.
4) For kale, cut out any large stems and roughly chop. Add kale to pot, cover, and let steam for a minute.
5) Add vegetable stock to pot and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for a few minutes.
6) Add cooked, drained pasta, and drained beans to the stew. Season with salt and pepper.
1) Slice baguette into 1/4 inch slices.
2) Drizzle with olive oil.
3) Sprinkle toasts with grated Parmesan cheese.
4) Bake toasts at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 8-10 minutes.
Serve stew with the toasts!
Adapted from a Food and Wine recipe.
Squash and Kale
There’s one and only one annoying step to this recipe: Peeling a butternut squash. It just isn’t fun or easy, but unfortunately you can’t just roast the squash and then scoop out the flesh because it will be too soggy in the stew.
So peel you must! Grab a good veggie peeler and go to town. After you peel off all the hard skin, dice the flesh of the squash into about 1/4 inch cubes.
Before you get starting with the stew, it’s probably a good idea to wash and trim the kale also. Be sure to rinse the kale well. Dirt is easily trapped in all those pesky (but delicious) green folds.
I also recommend trimming off any large stems from the kale as they won’t really be great in the stew.
Besides those things, you’ll want to dice up your onion and garlic and also cook your pasta according to the package. You can start the pasta while you work on the stew though, but you definitely want to cook it before adding it to the stew.
When you’re ready to start the stew, add the oil to a large pot over medium heat and add in your onions. Sweat the onions until they are soft, but not browned at all. Be sure to not get your pot too hot or they will brown instead of just soften.
Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano, and squash cubes to the pot and continue to stir.
The squash should start to soften after a few minutes in the pot.
After the squash has cooked for about five minutes, add the kale and cover the pot for about a minute which will steam the kale.
Meanwhile, you can drain your pasta and beans. I used tiny little tube pastas called tubetti for this, but any smaller pasta would work.
Then add in your vegetable stock and bring the whole thing to a simmer.
Once the stew is simmering, add in the beans and pasta and continue to simmer for a few minutes to combine the flavors. Then season the whole thing with salt and pepper and you’re all set!
You could eat this stew by itself. It’s very hearty and definitely can work as a one pot meal.
I kicked it up a notch though by making these fun little Parmesan toasts to dip in the stew. Just cut a baguette or sturdy loaf of bread into 1/4 inch slices. Drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.
Bake them at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 8-10 minutes and then serve up a few of them with the stew!
The squash, while a bit annoying to prepare, is definitely my favorite part of this stew. It thickens the stew a bit and goes really well with the other flavors.
Have a big bowl of this… guilt free!