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butternut squash pastaThis simple pasta, black bean and butternut squash dish is something that I have been making off and on for over 25 years. I’m not sure where I first got the idea, but as it has stood the test of time I thought I might share it. There is little skill involved, just a willingness to chop a few things, roast one or two and toss them together. No sauces, no tricky timings – it is pretty easy. And really rather nice, as things involving pasta tend to be.butternut squashIt is a bit odd that a lot of us food bloggers will crank out new recipes – new to us, new to you – week after week, but sometimes we forget about the dishes and ideas that we fall back on year in and year out. I have shared a number over the almost three years I have been writing food to glow – Spinach Pie, Shepherdess Pie, Fish Tacos and Very Veggie Black Bean Chilli are four well-loved family recipes that immediately spring to mind. But this simple pasta dish somehow slipped through the net. Perhaps it is because we don’t eat a lot of pasta. Perhaps because I don’t spend the time to photograph it before wolfing it down of a weeknight, crammed in between parental taxi duties (sorry about the dull light). However, when the craving for slippery, comforting carbs strikes this is our favourite fail-safe, store cupboard way to eat pasta.

You will see that I have called for plain old tagliatelle, not anything whole grain or with nutrition cred. On this occasion, because this pasta recipe provides plenty of fibre from the beans and squash, we indulge in a little of the white stuff. If you consider white pasta poison, ditch it and replace with the pasta substitute of your choice. You could reinvent this altogether with spaghetti squash, skipping the pasta trope altogether. The marriage of melting soft squash, earthy beans, cheek-tightening lemon and the woody scent of herbs is the main thing. And olive oil – the good stuff ‘cos you’re worth it.

butternut squash pastaButternut Squash and Black BeanTagliatelle

Last year: Love Your Greens Soup

Two years ago: Sage and Walnut Cauliflower Cheese

Miss R’s track of the week: Gorgon City – Ready For Your Love

Feel free to play around with the herbs and spices, and even whether or not you include the cheese or beans. This really is scrummy and just needs partnering with a crisp green salad. It is quick too, especially if you have roasted the squash previously. Sometimes I roast the butternut squash the day before I need it if I have the oven on for something else. Or I get a big squash and use half for this recipe and half for another. Also, if the chillies are fairly mild (I bite the end to check) then I tend to use them fresh rather than roast them.

Serves 4

1 small butternut squash

olive oil

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

1-2 red chillies, deseeded (leave a few seeds if you like the heat), halved lengthways and sliced

2 cloves garlic (optional), chopped

8 ‘nests’ of dried tagliatelle (or 60-75g other dried pasta, like linguine or shells)

150g (1 cup) best-quality feta cheese or vegan Greek-style cheese, crumbled

1 400g (14 oz) tin borlotti beans or black beans, rinsed and drained OR 1 pack smoked tofu, cubed – either choice may be warmed gently in a pan, but I don’t bother

Zest and juice of ½ lemon (you may want to add the rest)

20 gm (.75 oz) pack of basil, shredded OR 8 sage leaves, shredded (sage and squash are perfect partners but sage is assertive)

Handful of pine nuts or pumpkin seeds

Extra virgin olive oil

Flat leaf parsley, chopped and/or rocket leaves

1. First tackle the squash. There are numerous suggested methods for dealing with this thick-skinned relation of the courgette. My preferred way for this dish is to carefully cut the squash into four wedges, scoop out the seeds (set aside for roasting separately), and place on a baking tray. Slick over or spoon a small amount of olive oil onto each wedge, season and bake for about 45 minutes (may need longer) at 180 C.  Add the chillies and chopped garlic for the last 10 minutes; pop the pine nuts or pumpkin seeds on a small tray and bake these as well. You may want to test the squash with a skewer before removing from the oven – it offers no resistance if done. When cool enough to handle carefully slide a sharp knife between and along the flesh and the peel. Do this for all the wedges then cut the freed wedges into even, bite-sized chunks. Or, you could of course peel the raw squash, halve, deseed and cube the flesh. Set the squash, seeds and chillies aside.

2. When you are ready to eat, cook the pasta in a large wide pan according to packet directions. Drain the pasta and decant into a wide, shallow serving dish (or just use the pan again). Add in the squash, chillies, beans, sage or basil, cheese and toasted seeds. Drizzle over extra virgin olive oil, season and toss to mix. Garnish with chopped parsley or rocket/arugula.sage

Nutrition Notes: One cup of butternut squash (about 200 grams) gives us over 350 per cent of our daily Vitamin A requirements – as beta-carotene, 26 per cent of Vitamin C and 23 per cent of dietary fibre. Not shabby. But this low GI vegetable is also a very good source of a host of other essential nutrients, such as B6, manganese, potassium and folate. Some of you may think, well I know it is good for me – all that orange! – but isn’t it starchy? Actually it is 90 per cent carbohydrate, with about half being starch: this kind of freaks some people out. Well, fret not. It appears that all starches are not created equal. A particular starch in nearly all hard winter squashes includes a type of pectin that has notable antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties. And one steamed cup is only 76 calories. It is one of the Centre For Science In The Public Interest’s 10 best foods. Click on the link to see the others, as well as the top 10 worst foods too.

I would like to enter this into Pasta Please for this month’s garlic-themed challenge over at Tinned Tomatoes and The Spicy Pear. Thanks ladies! pasta-please1

35 thoughts on “Butternut Squash and Black Bean Tagliatelle

  1. Really unique spin on pasta, Kelly. I use black beans a lot, but predominately in Mexican/Southwestern cuisine, the cuisine of my childhood and what I still regard as comfort food. But I have to agree, sharing the tried-and-true recipes are the best, though too often overlooked. I am planning to do just this soon after my wellness series ends. So thanks for the encouragement!

    1. I love the tex-mex thing too. Growing up in Florida we had a lot of Cuban and Mexican food and I’m wondering if some of that has influenced this recipe. I don’t know. All I know is that we love this. Thanks for commenting Katie. And I’m sure all of your food is about wellness, but I know what you mean 😉

  2. Laura says:

    I think this looks so delicious – I totally get why you’ve been making it!

  3. This is my kind of family recipe! I eat “the white stuff” but ran across some black bean pasta the other day that would be interesting to try with this. Last week I took a break from trying out new recipes, and focused on EASY family favorites which was WONDERFUL 🙂 Great recipe and will be making it for sure!

    1. Now that sounds like something I would like to try! I as m over in Florida next month (which is almost here, thank goodness.January is SO LONG)I will see if I can find it. We have sometimes used chickpea linguine which is quite nice, although I can only tolerate a little. Which is probably just as well! It sounds like we are working the same vibe of easy favourites. January kinda does that to you, doesn’t it?

  4. I just found to LOVE butternut squash on a salad type dish! Sometimes they can be hard to cut though.

    1. Ooh, I’ve got a few squash salad recipes here too. As for the cutting, I know. It can be hard. I recommend a strapping husband, partner, brother, neighbour, object of lust to assist! Or, failing that, many stores have it ready cut in the fresh or frozen section. It will still be pretty nutritious.

      1. Awesome! I love browsing at the squash salad recipes!

  5. What an absolutely gorgeous dish. Beautiful colors, pure comfort. LOVE this.. 🙂

  6. This looks and sounds delicious although I’d look to replace or just omit the pasta. Do you have any recommendations?

    1. I’ve suggested spaghetti squash as a sub (and leave out butternut). But EA Stewart has mentioned black Bean ‘pasta’ which sounds super. And chickpea linguine is gorgeous if you find it.

      1. Great. Thank you.

  7. cheri says:

    What a great combination, love the color. My family will love this!

  8. Lovely dish… I think I’d prefer to skip the pasta though, too.

    1. We rarely – and I mean rarely – have pasta but I guess this is our fave white carb-indulgence. I try and think the beans and squash make up for it 😉

  9. Deena Kakaya says:

    I love black beans, they have such lovely depth. Great idea to use it with pasta x

  10. Becca says:

    Reblogged this on Becca's Latest Epic Adventure and commented:
    Oooooh, this sounds really yummy! Unexpected side bonuses of starting my own blog, finding new recipes to try when I get back home!

    1. Hi Becca. Sorry for the delay – I didn’t see this! Thanks for the lovely comment along with your reblog. Best wish with your shiny new wordpress blog.

  11. narf77 says:

    Since I ditched potatoes, pumpkin has taken up the slack in my diet and filled the niche that potatoes previously did. I eat a lot of pumpkin these days and love the flavour and the versatility of it. Butternut pumpkin is quite expensive here in Tasmania because it doesn’t grow as well as cooler climate pumpkins do but that will just teach me to grow it myself next year and make sure that it is happy :). I don’t eat pasta but I reckon this mix tumbled through some hot cooked Buckwheat groats would be the bomb 🙂

    Loved today’s track…sounded a lot like Seal 🙂

    1. I can’t quite do the buckwheat groats thing but I love soba noodles!

      1. narf77 says:

        I couldn’t stand buckwheat but it is amazing how tasty things get when you knock entire swathes of foodstuff’s from your diet 😉

  12. Oh I love the colors in this dish. It is so bright!

  13. chef mimi says:

    A beautiful salad!

  14. Mmmm Kellie, this sounds so comforting, perfect comfort food for dark dull January!
    I think almost any dish is enhanced by warm soft butternut squash, and I’ve never tried it with any pasta other than lasagna. The boys in my house like pasta lots, so thanks for the new inspiration 🙂

  15. Urvashi Roe says:

    I would never have put this combo together but I love the vibrant colours. And how simple it is too. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  16. This looks delicious – the colours and flavours in it all look/sound so great!

  17. Eat Your Veg says:

    I quite often whiz something like this together in the summer with griddled courgettes, cherry tommies, chilli, feta, lemon and pasta and it’s always a quickie delicious treat. Great idea to add beans too, and I must try with squash. Yummy!

    1. We like either beans or smoked tofu, although those are such different tastes. Yes, your pasta is probably what we tend to to do in the warm months – such a ‘no-brainer’ (and that is not meant as an insult!!) thing to easily get some goodness into the family meal. Thanks for stopping by, Lou.

  18. thespicypear says:

    What a colourful bowl of pasta. I would never have thought to add butternut squash in pasta, other than ravioli, nor the black beans but it does look like a tasty and nutritious dish. A fantastic entry for this month’s Pasta Please.

  19. That looks wonderfully Kellie. You are so good at styling food. It always looks so much more appetising. Although heck, the recipes are always marvellous anyway. Thanks for entering 🙂

  20. Julie says:

    Last night I was looking for a fast family dish to use the other half of ready cooked black beans I had in the fridge. It’s March and butternut squash is out of season so I roasted some red carrots, parsnips, red onion and parsley root instead. The combination of the roasted vegetables with the feta, black beans, roasted pumpkin seeds, chili, garlic and lemon was wonderful and even my son – who who normally picks beans and veggies out and would prefer a meat dish every day – ate a big plate with great enjoyment and complimented the dish!
    The only problem was mixing everything so the “bits” were evenly distributed. There was too much chili and pasta at the top and all the yummy beans and feta at the bottom. Next time I would not use tagliatelle but something shorter like penne. Thanks so much, Kelly, for this and all your recipes 🙂

    1. Thanks so much for your awesome feedback, Julie. I love it when I can help get anyone eating vegetables! Penne is a good call. Any pasta you like really. 😊😊😊

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