Autumn Pasta with Squash, Smoked Cheddar & Kale Walnut Pesto

Fall is here, and with that comes a new crop of local produce!  One of the best examples this time of year is squash of all shapes and sizes, flavors and textures. They are all delicious, but I decided to use butternut squash for this recipe because it is especially flavorful and has a slightly sweet taste.  I added red onions and hearty kale and a smoked cheddar cheese to this pasta dish. The kale, walnut pesto adds extra flavor and the pomegranate seeds add a refreshing zing.

Here is what you need to make this pasta dish:

(serves 3 – 4)

12 oz. of pasta (any shape you prefer, cooked according to directions)

2 TB. of olive oil  (for roasting)

1 TB. of olive oil for tossing into the pasta

2 – 3 cups of butternut squash (peeled, seeded and cut into bite sized pieces)

2 – 3 cups of kale (I used baby kale, but any kind works if chopped into pieces)

1/2 cup of red onion (sliced and chopped into pieces)

3/4 cup of grated cheese (I used a smoked cheddar)

salt & pepper to taste

1/3 cup of pomegranate seeds

1 teaspoon dried parsley

For the Kale / Walnut Pasta:

1/2 cup of olive oil

1/3 cup of walnuts

1 – 2 cups of packed kale

juice of 1/2 lemon

grated lemon peel of 1 lemon

salt & pepper to taste

To Prepare:

* Rub or brush the cut squash and red onion with olive oil and place on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown and easily pierced with a knife.

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* Prepare the kale pesto by placing the ingredients in a food processor and blending until smooth. Set aside.

* While the vegetables are roasting, cook the pasta according to directions. When it is done, drain it and place it in a bowl. Add the tablespoon of olive oil and toss into the warm pasta 2 cups of kale and the grated cheese, so that the kale wilts and cheese melts.

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* Gently stir in the kale pesto.

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* Cover and keep warm.

* When the vegetables are done gently add half of them into the pasta. Place everything on a platter and arrange the rest of the roasted vegetables on the top.

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* Sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds, and add some salt & pepper to taste.

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Serve and enjoy!

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