It’s December. You’ve just arrived home after a long day of work. You enter your kitchen to be greeted by a beautiful meal on a perfectly set table surrounded by candles and over-flowing glasses of red wine. You slip off your boots, pull back a chair…
…and go crashing down ass-first onto the hardwood floor.
You then remember that not only are you in charge of the cooking in this one-bedroom apartment–you don’t even have a kitchen table or a set of placemats. For many of us twenty-somethings that live by ourselves–it can be convenient to take the easy way out for dinner. Well when it comes to eating, convenience doesn’t always equal delicious or healthy. I’m all for a hot pocket on the go or quick bowl of cereal when the lazy bug strikes–however, when I want to whip up something fast that’s still nourishing (and more appealing than a few handfuls of Crunchberries) I raid my fridge with one word in mind:
Elegant meals don’t have to be elaborate or fancy. They don’t always require a trip to Whole Foods or even sitting down at a table (see: Farm-to-Couch.) As long as they’re fresh, colorful, and contain a few “gourmet” ingredients (enter goat cheese and acorn squash) they can still knock your socks off.
…which probably happened anyway when you fell through your imaginary table.
Angel Hair Pasta
Maple Roasted Acorn Squash (Butternut Squash or Pumpkin can also be substituted)
Five ingredients is all it takes for this quick and tasty weeknight entree. I love angel hair because it’s not as filling as other pastas, holds sauce beautifully, and cooks in minutes. Any type of winter squash that roasts well works great in this dish. The warm nutty flavor adds depth and a velvety texture to the sauce. Once roasted, it holds up well in the fridge for a few days and the leftovers can be used to create spur-of-the-moment salads or pastas (hence this blog post you’re reading right now…)
*Winter Squash roasting for dummies*: dice into wedges or cubes, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and maple agave and roast at 400 until fork tender.
While the water is boiling, sauteed diced vine-ripened tomatoes (any variety will do) in olive oil and butter over medium- high heat.
Season well with salt and pepper.
Other optional enhancements to create more flavor: caramelized onions, a splash of white wine; dried oregano; thinly sliced garlic.
Once the pasta is al dente, transfer it to the pan of sauteed tomatoes and add the goat cheese and squash. The creaminess of the goat cheese and acorn squash will melt into the pasta and create a sweet and savory sauce.
Tear fresh basil leaves over the top just before serving and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.