Lately, temperatures in the teens and single digits have encouraged me to spend more time in the kitchen. With plenty of ingredients on hand and time to spare, I’ve had the chance to try a handful of recipes that take longer than I’m usually willing to spend over the stove.
This winter stew is one of my latest creations. It’s a combination of some of my favorite winter vegetables, including kale, squash, root vegetables, and beans. The end result is both colorful and hearty; the perfect thing to eat when the temperature drops below freezing.
The key here is to roast the squash and carrots in the oven before adding them to the stew with the rest of the ingredients. The roasting process allows the vegetables to caramelize while cooking, bringing out their natural sweetness. I also went for a broth that was tomato-based rather than broth-based, making the stew thicker and more flavorful than similar recipes.
Butternut Squash, Kale, and White Bean Stew Recipe
- 1 small butternut squash, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 3 carrots, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 cups whole tomatoes, with juice (from a 28 oz. can)
- 1 bunch lacinato kale (about 8 leaves)
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp basil
- salt, to taste
- olive oil
- 32 oz. vegetable broth
- Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss butternut squash and carrots lightly in olive oil and spread on a sheet pan lined with foil. Roast 25-30 minutes, or until squash is tender when poked with a fork.
- Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic, and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
- Chop whole tomatoes and add them to the saucepan. Add thyme and basil and let simmer.
- after 5-10 minutes, remove half of the tomato liquid. Place it in a blender and puree for 30 seconds.
- Add tomato mixture back to the saucepan. Pour in vegetable broth and bring back to a simmer. Add in kale and cook for 30 minutes at a gentle simmer.
- Add white beans, squash, and carrots. Cook until heated through and serve.
- Makes 6-8 servings.
This is a great example of a dish that can be prepared on a weeknight without taking over the whole evening. The ingredients are very simple, and many of them are winter staples that you probably have sitting around in your pantry or fridge.
The recipe uses both the oven and the stovetop, significantly cutting down preparation time and making things easier for those of us that cook in close quarters.
In addition, delicata squash makes a great choice here. It can be roasted and eaten without peeling, significantly cutting down preparation time. Once the squash is in the oven, the whole meal comes together in 30 minutes or less.
After a busy thanksgiving, this dish is a welcome vacation from long hours in the kitchen.
Pasta with Winter Squash and Kale Recipe
- 6 0z. penne pasta
- 1 delicata squash, halved, seeded, and cut into 1/3 inch slices
- 1/2 an onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 8-10 kale leaves, stemmed and chopped
- splash of white wine
- 4 oz. ricotta cheese
- pecorino cheese, to taste
- Cook pasta according to the directions on the package.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Toss delicata squash with 1 tbsp of olive oil and place on a lined (or greased) baking sheet. Roast for 25-30 minutes, or until squash can be easily pierced with a fork.
- In the meantime, heat remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet. Once hot, add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and stir for 1 minute more.
- Add chopped kale to the skillet. stir until kale begins to wilt, about 5 minutes. If desired, add a splash of wine during the last minute of cooking.
- Add the cooked squash and pasta to the skillet. Stir in ricotta and pecorino cheese and serve.
Makes 3 servings.
This recipe is inspired by Picco, a lovely restaurant located in Boston’s South End. While everything on the menu is top notch, my absolute favorite thing to order is the pizza covered in butternut squash, brussels sprouts, and a generous amount of fontina cheese.
For my rendition of this recipe, I decided to skip the red sauce and start with a foundation of white pizza. I didn’t have any brussels sprouts on hand, so I replaced them with a few handfuls of fresh spinach. I also added a few caramelized onions, since I love their sweet and savory flavor (hint: if you’re in a rush, add some balsamic vinegar to the onions near the end of cooking. This creates a similar flavor, but takes about half the time!).
Winter Squash and Spinach Pizza Recipe
- Pizza dough (I suggest this recipe, but you can also buy some at your local grocery store)
- mozzarella cheese, grated
- ricotta cheese
- a few handfuls of spinach
- 1/2 butternut squash, cubed
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 medium onion
- olive oil
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the cubes of butternut squash in olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and place on a prepared baking sheet. Roast for 20-30 minutes, testing for doneness with a fork. Don’t overcook, since the butternut squash will roast for 10 minutes more on top of the pizza.
- Cut the onion in half and slice into thin half moons. Heat oil in a small skillet on low and add onions. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until onions are evenly golden brown and caramelized.
- In the meantime, spread cornmeal out onto a large baking pan. Stretch the pizza dough so that it is uniformly thin and fits nicely into the baking pan. Rub stretched dough with a light layer of olive oil.
Assemble the Pizza:
- Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees.
- Spread mozzarella cheese evenly over the pizza dough. Using a medium sized spoon, scoop ricotta out of the container and drop onto the pizza. Continue this process 10-15 more times, until pizza is evenly covered. Sprinkle spinach over the entire pizza. Use a few handfuls, keeping in mind that the spinach will shrink during cooking.
- Top pizza with minced garlic, caramelized onions, and cooked butternut squash cubes. Place in the hot oven and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until pizza is evenly browned. Remove and let cool before serving.