Happy and Yummy is on vacation! We are loving our first trip to California, and will head into Oregon next week. At present, we are eating our way through San Francisco and we have indulged in amazing sourdough bread, incredible Asian fusion, and several servings of over-the-top delicious Italian food. Follow along on our Instagram and Twitter (@happyandyummy) to see what we’re ordering up 🙂 While we’re busy sampling the local food and wine, I hope you enjoy this repost of one of my most favorite recipes.
Cheese and I have a love hate relationship: I love cheese, my digestive system hates it. I try to avoid cream, milk and most cow’s milk cheese products like the plague. Through some miracle, goat cheese and I get along just fine, so I use it wherever I can. So long creamy pasta sauces …. until this recipe.
Years ago, I had dinner at my good friend Sue’s house. She found a pasta recipe from Giada de Laurentis using goat cheese. Everyone – even the kids – enjoyed the fresh flavors and delicious creamy sauce. I was so grateful that she took the time to look for a recipe that I could eat and made her entertaining preparation easy.
Since then, I have repeatedly adjusted proportions, added ingredients, subtracted others and finally came to rest upon the recipe below. I like to roast my veggies until they are nicely browned and you will see the crispy edges on the veggies in the pictures. Tossing the onions and squash in olive oil, and the adding the fresh thyme, before pouring them onto the cookie sheet helps with the browning and coveted crispiness. The thyme also smells and tastes insanely delicious, in my humble opinion. Buford, our 3 month old puppy, gives the basil – squash – thyme combination his seal of approval.
A word on the squash … I have not had great experience with using frozen chopped butternut squash which seems to bake up pretty poorly with too much soggy and too little flavor. Honestly, I’m not sure if the sogginess is due to the squash being chopped smaller or from the extra ice on the squash pieces from being frozen. Either way I don’t recommend it.
So, if you’re going to use fresh squash, I highly suggest larger chunks of between an inch and an inch and a half. I have seen fresh chopped squash in the produce department of Wegman’s supermarket which is on the larger side and would be perfect for this recipe.
Regrettably, this supermarket is not in the same state as the Happy and Yummy Headquarters, so I am left with the option of chopping raw butternut squash by hand when I want to make this dish. I should tell you that hacking up a squash is an exceptional stress reliever. Once it gets in the oven, you’re pretty much home free for a half hour before you have to do anything else. Walk the dog, open the mail, pack the lunches for tomorrow, or sit down with a nice beverage and do absolutely nothing while your oven does the hard work.
This recipe makes a big pan that lasts a couple of days in my house. It is a bit of an undertaking if you’re chopping the squash by hand but, I promise, this dish is worth the trouble.