I once discussed with a friend how there are certain types of dishes that you can make almost anything into. "Pasta, salad, or stir-fry--you can make anything into one of those!" this friend said, and he was right. I'd also add soup to the list. How well these off-the-cuff concoctions turn out is another thing altogether, but with a little skill, knowing your own tastes, and occasionally stealing from other people's recipes, you can often turn out something quite delightful, even with an unusual pairing of ingredients.
Take this pasta I made the other night. I had some peeled and cubed butternut squash from Trader Joe's that I was contemplating roasting, as squash generally wants to be roasted. But then I remembered what a lovely surprise it was last fall when I made this pasta which called for steaming and pureeing the squash into a creamy sauce. I decided to crib Giada's idea for the squash but tweak the other components.
The method is: saute some squash with oil, salt, and pepper. Add some broth, cover, and steam it until soft. Then puree it in a food processor.
When I'd transformed the squash into a bright orange puree, I tossed in some asparagus that I'd roasted separately, as well as a handful of frozen peas, and a pound of cavatappi. But it needed something more. So I rooted around in the fridge and found some ricotta that needed to be used up. In went half a cup, a hefty grating of parmesan, and a little pasta water to make it just right. A sprinkle of chives (my go-to garnish!) and I was done. Not bad for an impromptu weeknight pasta!
There was something else I was going to say...
Oh yes, the winner of the spring chicken giveaway. Thank you to everyone who entered! What fun it was to read all of your responses. I had a hard time choosing with such great entries, but the prize goes to HollowPeas, who wrote:
I am going to go against the 'flowers and grass and birds' grain here and say my favorite part about spring is the thunderstorms. It is honestly one of my favorite times to spend all day in the kitchen. I crack open the windows so I can hear the rain and the thunder and spend all day baking bread or roasting a chicken, something warm and comforting. The bonus is the next day when it smells like fresh rain and everything is green and vibrant.
HollowPeas, drop me an email with your mailing address and CSN will have your gorgeous Le Creuset roasting pan in the mail to you quick as a wink.
Everyone else, thanks for playing!