So…. Let’s talk about how Fall is almost here. It’s been unseasonably cool in the Northeast, which makes me happy for a few reasons. 1.) my birthday is coming up, 2.) As a Libra, I am destined to love all things Fall, pumpkins, apples, spice, cider, leaves, sweaters…. I have *chills*. Lastly, 3.) I have literal chills. I love when it gets a bit cooler outside.
With Fall comes some of the best dinners. Apple Crisp, delicious soups. carbs to prepare for winter. Once squash comes into season, all bets are off. Butternut squash, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, pumpkin dishes, the list goes on.
It’s also the Autumn equinox. This has a lot of spiritual significance. In Western Religion, it denotes the changes that lead to the dark of winter and is marked as the beginning. Animals start to grow thicker coats, stow away food for the winter, and trees shed their old foliage for their seasonal rest.
This sounds cliché, and maybe even a bit old-timer-ish, but when my birthday rolls around I like to look back on everything that’s changed in the last year, what I’ve learned, and to recount any discernable situations that helped be grow. I always come back to the same “lessons”, but with different perspective each time.
The good with the bad, the old with the new, the darkness with the light
On the day of Autumn Equinox, day and night almost exactly the same length of time. To me, this really brings into play the need for balance in our lives, and how quickly we forget its importance. It is just as important to be thankful for your darkest moments as you are for your best and brightest…. I truly feel that it takes a moment of darkness to most appreciate the light. Another cliché – but when you have real balance, you know that your trouble will eventually fade, your fear will subside and your pain will heal.
Surrendering and letting go
I mentioned the leaves falling before, I see that as a literal and metaphor of shedding your old habits, shedding your past, and preparing to start fresh, releasing any burdens you may have carried. Religious traditions also attribute their acts of rehabilitation and surrender to certain times of the year, so this is not all that different. Shed your regret and past limitations and start fresh.
Nothing is forever – embrace, and appreciate
With the idea of getting rid of your burdens, limitations and old energy, it should also come to mind that things change; things happen in phases, and everything in this world is finite. Not in a depressing way, but rather a reminder that we should take advantage of opportunity, savor what we love, and weather through the trouble.
With that, a recipe that captures seasonal offerings and delicious flavor comes to mind. This recipe is vegan, but dairy cream could also be added for a richer flavor and texture. Adding squash and some zest to a nice, carb-filled dish makes for a crowd pleasing, warm dinner dish. Take your time with this dish, like on a Sunday afternoon
Vegan Roasted Chipotle Butternut Squash Linguine with Sage
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 60 min
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh sage
- 1 medium sized butternut squash, approximately 1.5-2 lbs, skin removed and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp chipotle pepper powder
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 12 oz whole grain or gluten-free fettucine
(optional: 1/3 cup of shaved parmesan cheese for non-vegans)
- in a large pan, add olive oil and let stand over medium heat. Once the oil starts to bubble, add the 2 tbsp of the sage and gently stir, allowing oil to coat the leaves. If cooking too quickly, feel free to turn down the heat. Fry until crisp and slightly browned and set aside on a plate. Season with salt, and allow to cool.
- In the same pan, add the squash, onion, garlic, remaining sage, red pepper flakes and chipotle. Season with salt and pepper. Allow to slightly brown, until the onion is translucent… this should take about 10-12 minutes.
- Add the vegetable broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, until the squash is soft and the liquid is reduced by about half. This should take about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring large stock pot filled with water to a boil, and add pasta. Cook until al dente per pasta directions, stirring occasionally.
- Once the squash mixture is done cooking, remove it from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. At this point, you can either place pan ingredients into a blender and purée, or you can use an immersion blender. **When using an immersion blender, you should be sure you’re using a stainless-steel pan, and are taking precautions to reduce splatter.) Mix until smooth, adjusting salt, pepper and chipotle to your preference.
- In the same skillet, combine the pasta, squash purée and ¼ cup cooking liquid. Cook over medium heat, tossing and adding more pasta cooking water as needed, until the sauce covers all of the pasta, about 2 minutes. Season with more salt and pepper and garlic if necessary.
- Serve the pasta and top with fried sage, and a pinch of salt over top (and parmesan, if desired).