A couple of weeks ago I was invited to a “Slow Food” dinner party at my friend’s house. The objective of the night was to create an amazing meal, using local and seasonal ingredients, for only 5 dollars a person. The idea was to raise awareness that eating healthy and organic food does not have to be expensive. That night I enjoyed a wonderful dinner of grilled eggplant and tomato bruschetta, an incredible pasta dish with stewed sausage, braising greens, Parmesan cheese and garlic and Italian vanilla gelato smothered in espresso. I ate like a queen and felt amazed by how much great food you could eat with such a tight budget.
That night I was exposed to a fantastic brand of local pasta called “Al Dente”. I’m typically not too excited about dried pasta because I spent too long in Italy getting spoiled with the real deal I love to make my own home-made pasta. But I have to admit, this brand “Al Dente” is delicious and really accessible (Whole Foods sells it everywhere in Chicago). It’s delicate like fresh pasta and it only takes 3 minutes to cook.
Last night I had a serious craving to re-create my “Slow Food” dinner experience. Even though I wasn’t entertaining, I was inspired to cook a huge batch of pasta for myself with Fall/Italian ingredients and obviously some red wine. I combined the sweet flavors of caramelized onions and roasted squash with the bitter crunch of radicchio and the funky brilliance of Taleggio cheese. I am not going to lie, the pasta turned out great! This recipe is easy, economic and super flavorful. Let me know your thoughts!!!
Spinach Fettuccine with Roasted Squash, Caramelized Onions, Radicchio and Taleggio Cheese12 oz Al Dente Spinach Fettucine Noodles 6 Tbs. Olive Oil 1 lb. Delicata Squash (substitute with Butternut Squash if necessary) 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced 1/4 head of Radicchio, thinly sliced 3 oz. Taleggio cheese, cut in small cubes 3 oz. Parmesan cheese, shaved thin Kosher Salt and Black Pepper, to taste Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the squash in half, lengthwise and trim off both ends. Thinly slice the squash in 1/8 inch slivers. Toss the squash with 1 Tbs. of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Lay the squash evenly on a sheet tray (without overlapping) and roast for 12-15 minutes. (to get some nice color you can turn the oven on broil for the last 2 minutes) While the squash is roasting, heat a large saute pan with 3 Tbs. of olive oil. When the oil is hot add the slivered garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add the slivered onion, season with kosher salt and pepper, and slowly cook for 15-20 minutes, until the onions are caramelized. Add the radicchio and roasted squash and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Taleggio cheese and turn off the heat. Bring a large put of salted water to a boil. Add the bag of spinach fettuccine and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the noodles are “al dente”. Immediately drain the noodles, rinse with cold water for 15 seconds and then pour the noodles in the pan with the onions, garlic, radicchio, squash and Taleggio. Stir all of the ingredients together, adding 2 Tbs. of olive oil, kosher salt, black pepper and Parmesan cheese. Serve in a large family style bowl garnished with slivered radicchio and Parmesan cheese.