Make this. Right now.

March 20, 2009

Sweet baby Jesus, y’all. I have gone and Done It Again. Tried something out-of-the-blue, and it is WONDERFUL. And I’m eating it All By Myself and I Don’t Care, because that means I can freeze this wonderful, wonderful sauce and use it for a quick dinner or lunch whenever I feel like it.

Without further ado:

Linguine with Squash, Bacon and Goat Cheese

Ingredients

·         6 slices bacon

·         1 2- to 2 ½-pound butternut squash—peeled, seeded, and diced (4 to 5 cups)  (actually, I think mine was more like 3)

·         2 cloves garlic, minced

·         1 1/2  cups  chicken broth

·         1  teaspoon  kosher salt  (I am not sure of the provenance of my salt. What’s the point in kosher salt when you’re using bacon, anyway?)

·         4  ounces  soft goat cheese, crumbled

·         1 1-pound package linguine, cooked

·         1  tablespoon  olive oil

·         2  teaspoons  freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Drain on a paper towel, then crumble or break into pieces; set aside. Drain all but about 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the skillet. Add the squash and garlic to the skillet and sauté over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the broth and salt. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the squash is cooked through and softened, 20 to 25 minutes. Add half the goat cheese and stir well to combine. Place the cooked linguine in a large bowl. Stir the sauce into the linguine and toss well to coat. Drizzle with the olive oil and add the reserved bacon, the remaining goat cheese, and the pepper. Serve immediately.

Honey. It’ll make you hurt yourself. It made me not pay attention to basketball.

A couple of notes. Since there was just me, I cooked a single healthy-sized serving of mini-farfalle, because I had it. Also, I used two garlic cloves instead of one. One would have been OK. Depends on how much you like garlic. And I used, albeit not intentionally, maple cured bacon, which was a happy accident.

Sweet-savory. Rich with the goat cheese. Clings to the noodles. Didn’t need the olive oil drizzle, but the pepper was a good touch. Halved cherry tomatos would’ve added, not to mention being pretty. I could have made a salad, but why? I could have made some bread, but why?

I would note raw butternut squash are harder than five kinds of hell to peel. Sucker looked like the guy from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre had had hold of it when I got done. But once you simmer it, it’s nice and soft, and I just used my wooden spoon to mash it up right there in the pan. I thought about getting out my immersion blender, which I bought the other day and have yet to use, but I didn’t need it.

I whacked it up into about 3/4 inch dice, roughly, to saute and simmer.

That was the first time I have ever used goat cheese in a recipe. It will NOT be the last. The lasagna, scheduled for Sunday when the closest thing I have to a sister is coming over for dinner, will have goat cheese in it. And Italian sausage. I can’t wait.

Caveat. Goat cheese is one of those ingredients that will break you of the dictum that “if a little is good, more’s better.” That stuff is RICH, folks. Little hard-headed goats are turning out some serious milkfat, here. When it says put two ounces in the sauce and crumble another two ounces on top, don’t do more than that.

Garlic, on the other hand, you can use your judgment on. It’s my rule of thumb that any entree for more than two needs at least two cloves of garlic.

This one would have been…interesting…with the addition of some, say, allspice. Or cloves. Just enough to make you wonder, “What IS that?” Never fear, will be made again, and experimented upon. Because, damn, that was good.

I’m presently enjoying one of those most excellent Ketel One martinis (sorry, John, HomeboyLiquors over here on my side of the bridge doesn’t have Chopin, but I’m still gonna get there!), and occasionally going back to the pasta bowl for another lukewarm forkful. I am not through hurting myself yet.

I wonder how this would be with Chinese Five-Spice powder?

Tell y’mama ‘n ’em to come make me stop. I need an intervention.

2 Responses to “Make this. Right now.”

  1. Len Cleavelin Says:

    Sounds very yummy indeed. My punishment for turning all introverted on you that evening. I’ll have to try the recipe sometime.

  2. Wayne Says:

    Hi Kay Here Shirley and I are trying to lose weight and then you come up with these lucious recipes. When you cook your rice, add some coconut flakes to the rice. yum yum. Also, at Sam’s, you can get some nice 1 1/4 inch or more pork chops. Put two, three, four, or as many as you want in a baking dish. Put a slice of onion on each pork chop, a dash of basil, and then cover with rice then stewed tomatos. Cover and put in the oven at 400 for about 90 minutes. An excellent delicious easy meal to fix. Try it sometime. Luv ya gal Take care


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