Winter Orecchiette & Butternut Squash Sauce
Guys, I think I’ve found my new favourite sauce in lifeeeeee. Better than alfredo sauce, better than bolognese sauce, better than vodka sauce…and dare I say it, even better than mac and cheese. Three words: Butternut. Squash. Sauce.
Winter has finally decided to rear its (somewhat) ugly head here in Toronto – we just got our third snowfall of the year last night, with a whopping 1/2 centimentre of the white stuff. Let’s just say I am NOT complaining. But, I am trying to enjoy the season of sweater weather and cozy nights on the couch while I still can, and this Winter Orecchiette & Butternut Squash Sauce has made more than one appearance on my dinner menu in the past month.
Turkey bacon is one of my go-tos when I’m looking for something smokey to add to a dish, and it’s far lower in calories than the regular pork kind. However, if you’re not a fan of nitrates or processed meats, then you can always opt for a lighter chicken breast in this meal, or you can add in some white kidney beans or chickpeas for some extra protein. Honestly, this Winter Orecchiette & Butternut Squash Sauce is also fantastic as a vegetarian main, so maybe an idea to keep in mind for Meatless Monday!
You can swap out any of the vegetables that I’ve used here, but the main thing for me was keeping seasonal produce in rotation. I’m a huge fan of mushrooms, and wanted to use brussels sprouts before the season is over. Believe it or not, I’d never tried purple kale before this and was looking for an excuse to buy it. My verdict? Tastes just like ordinary curly kale, but a bit more bitter. The perfect balance to offset the sweet elements of the butternut squash sauce!
But getting back to the butternut squash sauce component of this Winter Orecchiette. It’s a bit of a hybrid between alfredo sauce and mac & cheese, with this creamy, rich and sweet flavour. You’ll have a bit of sauce likely left over after you make this recipe, so I recommend freezing it. I’ve used the sauce later for stuffed mushrooms, tacos, more pasta…anything you can think of really! It’s super versatile and I recommend making as big a batch as you possibly can because trust me, you’ll become hooked real fast!
Will you be trying this Winter Orecchiette & Butternut Squash Sauce recipe? Let me know if you end up making it – I’d love to see your creations on Instagram and Twitter!