Friday, October 17, 2008

Butternut Bowties (or spirals) with a side of Pumpkin Cookie

So on my lovely Columbus Monday off I was lying in bed catching some Rachael ray and she featured a recipe called Butternut Bowties! I love her recipes because they are rather simple to create and always have alot of possible substitutions should someone be looking to cut down on calories and fat. On top of that she toted this one as a "healthy mac n cheese" alternative, and i love me some mac and cheese! Erin was even up to try it so I thought it was a must make.

I still had two butternut squashes leftover from our apple picking trip and I needed to do something quick with them before they rot! (funny fact: i read that squash can stay good for up to three weeks in a dark space...not so much for these ones I suppose. they already have a few questionable spots on them...). Since roasting the squash can take awhile I opted to do that on Monday morning and then have the squash puree needed for the recipe for whatever day of the week we wanted. It baked while I went running! When I returned i took it out and the skin peeled right off nicely. Prep work done.

Here is the recipe: Butternut Bowties

You can follow that link to see exactly how Rachael puts everything together. I wanted to list the ingredients so that I could offer my substitutions:

1 butternut squash, halved and seeds removed
1 tablespoon EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil (skipped, just used cooking spray)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 box of bowtie pasta (I used whole wheat spirals)
2 tablespoons butter (nope)
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk (I switched to Fat Free Chicken broth which was a tip Rachael gave during the show)
A pinch of nutmeg
A pinch of cinnamon
5 to 6 sage leaves, thinly sliced (i only had dried on hand)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (I used fat free cheese...more on that below)
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano (i used shaker parm, not as good but ALOT cheaper :)
A handful toasted almonds, to garnish (optional)
(omitted, although I would probably love that)

Now a few words on my prep...I made the casserole ahead of time so that I could just pop it into the oven before we wanted to have dinner. It made a huge pan of pasta and I also added fresh broccoli to the dish to bulk it up (not that it needed it). I love fresh veggies so this was a no brainer. I think you could have add alot of different options.

So...sometimes I go a bit overboard with the substitutions and things just don't quite work out. In this case it was the cheese. Let me start by saying I really liked the dish, but the cheese didn't really melt that well which happens when the their is no fat!! I put the casserole in the oven for about twenty mins and when I checked on it the cheese looked as solid as can be! Another fifteen mins and when I took it out i realized that it was cooked through, the cheese just didn't melt all that well. Erin still said it was good but we both agreed that adding regular cheese would definitely make a difference!

Moving on to the dessert of pumpkin cookies. I made these last year after finding them on Eating Well. They are so moist and a mix of cookie/muffin consistency. I omit the oil and use applesauce and I would definitely recommend using the cake flour I think it makes a difference. Also I added the raisins but you could of course leave those out or add other things instead (cranberries, nuts: all sorts!). I used a tablespoon when scooping these to see if the recipe really made 3 1/2 dozen did! exactly 42! They are little so feel free to indulge in several (erin and I did)!