Growing up as a vegetarian on Thanksgiving, there was always Chelsea's food and everyone else's food. And while I do like steamed vegetables, it seemed like that was always the only option for me other than rice. As an adult, I love having Thanksgiving as an opportunity to make vegetarian dishes that the whole family (meat-eaters included) will enjoy. This Butternut Squash Orecchiette is the perfect side dish to win over any picky eater. I have included the vegan and gluten free variations in the recipe as well so that everyone can enjoy it.
Creamy Butternut Squash Orecchiette with Crispy Sage
1/2 large butternut squash
12 oz. dry orecchiette or similar size noodle (brown rice noodles work great)
1/4 cup butter (coconut oil works for vegan)
5-6 sage leaves
2 tbsp flour (brown rice flour for gluten free)
1 shallot, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
3/4 cup whole milk (nut milk for vegan)
3/4 cup vegetable stock
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of nutmeg
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut butternut squash in half, scoop out seeds, and place face down in a baking dish. Add about a cup of water to the baking dish and place in oven. Bake for about an hour or until soft. Scoop out the cooked squash and place in a small bowl Discard the peel.
Boil water and add noodles. Cook until al dente. Set aside.
Melt butter in a skillet on medium heat. Allow the butter to heat until small bubbles begin to form. While the butter is getting hot, chop the sage into smaller pieces. If you put a drop of water in the pan and it sizzles, you know the butter is hot enough. At this point, at the sage to the pan. Wait 20 seconds and then remove the sage with a slotted spoon. Place the sage on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt.
Add the shallots and garlic to the butter the sage was cooked in, and cook until they become translucent. Add in the flour and stir to coat. Slowly stir in the milk and vegetable stock and bring to a low boil. Add the cooked squash, using the back of a fork or a whisk to incorporate. Add in the salt, nutmeg, and nutritional yeast and stir until creamy. Stir in the cooked noodles and top with the crispy sage and serve.
*This would taste amazing with shredded gruyere stirred in or parmesan on top.