Sunday, November 18, 2012

Butternut Squash Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

It's Sunday, so by now, you know what that means:  we had a big Sunday dinner.  Today's fare wasn't a lot of courses, but instead, one big entree that housed all of our food groups.  Grains?  Check, we had whole grain linguine.  Dairy?  Check, the sauce included fat-free half and half and two different cheeses.  Meat?  Check, I added roasted chicken breast.  And, finally, fruits and vegetables?  CHECK, BUTTERNUT SQUASH!! 

I have been craving a creamy butternut squash and sage pasta sauce for about a month now.  One that is made incredibly rich with the addition of gorgonzola.  For those of you who don't like blue cheese in any form, don't get all bent out of shape.  Once you have all the components combined, you can't taste the blue cheese.  It just adds an unbelievable creaminess and depth to the sauce.  You're just going to have to take my word on this. 

As I've mentioned before, sage and winter squash go hand in hand.  They are meant to go together - one of Mother Nature's perfect combinations.  The sauce is a delicate blend of flavors and seasonings that doesn't hit you between the eyes with it's goodness, but trips lightly across your palate with its sublime deliciousness.

Here's your Cast of Characters.

2 Cups butternut squash, or 1/2 large squash, cooked
5 Oz. gorgonzola, divided
1 Cup chicken broth
1 Cup fat-free half and half
1/2 Cup Pecorino Romano
1 Teaspoon crushed peppercorns
1/2 Teaspoon crushed fennel
1 Teaspoon crushed, dried sage leaves (8-10 leaves)
1 Teaspoon Lawry's season salt
1 Teaspoon McCormick Perfect Pinch Garlic & Herb
1/2 Teaspoon McCormick Sicilian seasoning
1 Teaspoon chicken bouillon granules

Cut squash in half and clean the seeds out.

Peel skin off with a knife.  Set aside one half for later use.  I put it in a ziplock bag and freeze it to use another time.  Cube remaining half.

Place in food processor along with chicken broth, and pulse until all large chunks are gone.

Add half and half.  Process on low for about 30 seconds, until well blended.

It will be thin, but that's okay.  It will thicken up as you cook it, and add the cheeses.  Pour into a large skillet; turn to medium heat.  Stir in all but 3 tablespoons of gorgonzola.  Add all seasonings.

Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes, until reduced by almost half and starting to thicken.  Stir frequently to prevent scorching.

Meanwhile, start cooking your pasta.  This is a thick and hearty sauce so you need a pasta that can stand up to it.  I used linguine, but you can also choose fettucine.

After sauce has started to thicken, turn to low, and stir in Pecorino Romano.

Continue cooking on low, stirring often, until pasta is done.  I roasted a couple of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cubed them, but you can definitely make this meatless.  It's good either way.

When pasta is done, drain and place in a large serving dish.  Add chicken, if you want.

Pour sauce over the top, and toss to coat well.

Add remaining gorgonzola, and stir it through the noodles.  They don't need to melt, so you don't need to mix it that well.

Plate, and serve immediately.

Look closely.  You can see little bites of gorgonzola and the heartiness of the sauce.  Be forewarned, this is not a smooth sauce.  The butternut gives it a chunkiness that you can't process away.  That's part of what I love about it!