I don’t eat or make pasta very often, but when I do, it has to be worth the carbs. And this is! The butternut squash sauce looks and feels like cheese, so you can fool yourself (and kids) into thinking you’re eating the real cheesy goodness. And it’s protein packed with chickpeas making this a well-rounded vegetarian dinner.
I would definitely eat this the second you make it. Otherwise, the butternut squash sauce will cease up. If it does, you can loosen it up again with some veggie broth or even extra pasta water.
Butternut Orecchiette with Arugula & Chickpeas
- 1 butternut squash, halved lengthwise
- 3 tablespoons grape-seed or olive oil, divided
- salt and pepper
- 2 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed and chopped + a handful of thyme sprigs
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 2 cups dried orecchiette pasta
- 1 (15-oz can) chickpeas
- 1/2 cup grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
- 1/2 5-oz box arugula
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Scatter the handful of thyme sprigs across the paper. Rub the halves of squash with 1 tablespoon grape-seed oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and lay face down on the thyme sprigs. Place squash in the oven and roast until very tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.
- Once you can handle the squash, scoop the cooked flesh from the skins into a bowl, discarding the squash seeds and thyme sprigs. Set aside.
- In a large soup pot, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and thyme, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the roasted squash and stir it all up, mashing the squash down into the sautéing aromatics. Add the lemon juice and the vegetable stock, stir until roughly combined and remove from the heat. Puree the squash and garlic mixture with an immersion blender or in a regular blender or food processor, adding more liquid if necessary.
- Return the squash sauce to the soup pot (if removed) over medium heat. Season with a fat pinch of salt and lots of pepper at this point.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of cooking water before draining.
- Once squash sauce is simmering, add cooked pasta, chickpeas, pecorino, and arugula, reserving a bit of each for garnish if you like. If you want, add some of the pasta water to loosen the mixture up a bit. Serve hot and enjoy!