Sometimes, if you overcook the butternut squash, the noodles break apart into little pieces. Sure, it’s frustrating. Ya, it doesn’t look totally like pasta.
But ya know what? It still tastes good!
Today on “how not to photograph spiralized pasta,” we have butternut squash noodles under a mound of quick-simmered white beans and garlicky broccoli rabe. Note to self for the future: the noodles are the stars, let them shine!
Yes, I slightly overcooked the butternut squash noodles so when I poured the white bean and broccoli rabe on top, they broke apart into little pieces. While this didn’t make for pretty photos, it didn’t affect the savory, fall flavors of this dish.
Broccoli rabe has a sharp bitterness to it, but when you sautee it with lots of garlic, red pepper flakes and some olive oil, the bitterness fades. Then, when you pair it with the sweetness of the butternut squash and the soft velvet textures of the salty parmesan cheese, all you can think about is shoveling more of it into your mouth and you forget about the aforementioned bitterness.
But really, if you don’t like bitter, blanch the broccoli rabe for just a minute in boiling water to remove some of that sharpness and then continue with the recipe. I could crunch on broccoli rabe all day, every day. It’s got such a distinct nutty flavor that can’t be beat – not even broccolini can touch it.
Broccoli rabe is also referred to as turnip broccoli, rapine, raab, and Chinese or Italian broccoli. Despite its name, rabe actually isn’t part of the broccoli family – it’s closely related to the turnip! Right now, it’s in season – late fall to late spring is its peak season, so take advantage – it might be showing up in CSA boxes or at farmer’s markets. It packs a mean punch of Vitamin C, which is crucial this time of the year (when everyone seems to be sniffling.)
My grandfather makes the best broccoli rabe – it’s bitter, garlickly and spicy, just how it should be. If you can handle the heat, add an extra pinch of red pepper flakes to this recipe. I’ve made it here with white beans and a warm chicken broth seasoned with oregano, which complements the butternut squash and adds flavor without adding heavy calories and fat.
Alright, I’m off to send in another edited version of my manuscript – I have such exciting news to share with you regarding my cookbook that I could burst! Patience, Ali, patience.
Have a healthy Monday – see you tomorrow.
What are your favorite ways to eat broccoli rabe?
Nutritional Information & Recipe
Butternut Squash Pasta with Spicy Garlicky Broccoli Rabe and White Beans
- 1 medium butternut squash peeled, Blade C, noodles trimmed
- olive oil cooking spray
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves minced
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes or more, if you like it really spicy
- 1 pound broccoli rabe stems removed
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth, if vegetarian
- 1 can white beans cannellini, Great Northern, drained, rinsed, patted dry
- 1 teaspoon oregano flakes
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the butternut squash noodles on a baking sheet and coat with cooking spray. Season with salt and pepper and bake for 8-10 minutes or until al dente. When done, divide noodles into bowls and set aside.
- While the butternut squash is cooking, place a large skillet over medium heat and add in the olive oil. Once oil heats, add in the garlic, red pepper flakes and broccoli rabe. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 3-5 minutes, tossing occasionally, or until broccoli rabe is wilted. You can do this in batches.
- Once the broccoli rabe is cooked, pour the chicken broth into the skillet and add the beans and oregano. Let cook for 5-10 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half.
- Remove the skillet from the heat, stir in the parmesan cheese and toss to combine. Divide the broccoli rabe mixture equally over the bowls of butternut squash noodles. Serve immediately.