Fall flavors that travel well for outdoor dining!
It was 90 degrees when I hosted my Fall Dinner at the Farm and I was so, so glad that I chose a chilled menu to serve outside. Texans and Southerns alike know the struggle of wanting fall when it’s still blazing hot outside. This is a great dish for anyone who wants to taste autumn without serving a hot dish.
This is a great make-ahead recipe too. I roasted the squash and cooked the pasta on Friday night (when it was cooler outside!) so both components could chill well. Saturday morning, I tossed with the rest of the ingredients and the vinaigrette so the whole main course was ready to go hours before dinner. I simply crisped up some sage on the stove a few minutes before packing up.
Picnic tip: I had this in my heaviest pottery bowl overnight and it was so well chilled that I decided to haul the heavy bowl out to the farm. Sure enough, the bowl was still chilled at the end of dinner four hours later having sat in a tote bag with a few ice packs. Pottery for the win!
You can of course buy prepped butternut squash if you want super simple prep. I’m pretty cheap and whole butternut squash was about $0.50 compared to the $4 pack of prepped squash so I bought two and cut them myself.
To prepare whole butternut squash, you’ll want to lay the squash on its side on a cutting board. Take a chef’s knife and carefully insert it in the dead center and press the knife down so that it’s sticking out the top of the squash. Then carefully work the knife down to the side, cutting half of the squash. Your knife should now be in the squash and relatively flat on the cutting board. Take the knife out and do the same on the other side to split in half. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Peel the outside then cut into 1″ strips and cut each strip into 3-4 pieces. Only the initial cut is difficult. The individual slices and pieces are fairly easy.
I served this with Noble Vines Pinot Noir, which my friend Joseph commented on as a fantastic pairing so I’m noting it for you. I doubled this for my Fall Dinner at the Farm but had a ton leftover, so I think you could easily make the recipe below for six.
Chilled Butternut Squash Pasta with Crispy Sage
1 butternut squash
Salt, pepper, pinch cinnamon
1 pound pasta
1/2 cup pine nuts
6 sprigs fresh thyme
6 oz goat cheese, crumbled
12 sage leaves
Maple dressing, recipe follows
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss squash with olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 black pepper. Roast for 20-30 minutes until crisp on the edges, flipping once halfway through cooking time. Let cool.
- Cook pasta according to package instructions in a pot of boiling salted water. Drain and cool.
- Toss pasta with roasted butternut squash, pine nuts, and thyme. Gently stir in dressing and crumbled goat cheese. Chill until ready to serve.
- Right before serving, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet. Fry sage until crispy, about two minutes. Garnish pasta salad with crispy sage.
- Note: the pasta and squash can be done the night before. Do not toss hot ingredients with the other ingredients. Wait until squash and pasta have cooled.
½ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 Tablespoons maple syrup
Salt and pepper
- Whisk together the mustard, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil until combined. Season with freshly ground sea salt and black pepper to taste.
Enjoy the season,