Brown Butter Spaghetti with Baby Kale and Roasted Butternut Squash

  • brown butter spaghetti with baby kale and roasted butternut squashI sure do a lot of pasta recipes.  What can I say?  I love carbs, especially in the form of noodles. This spaghetti is special because it uses brown butter.  Brown butter is my secret ingredient of choice.  Not only it is amazing in baked goods like chocolate chip cookies, but the warm, nutty flavor of brown butter does wonders to savory foods.

    brown butter spaghetti

    Just look at that image above.  Can you see the dark speckles of the brown butter coating the spaghetti?  The nutty brown butter melds well with the hearty butternut squash, the slight bitterness of the baby kale, and the sweetness from the caramelized onions.  Oh and let’s not forgot about the creamy, salt cheese with the aromatic sautéed garlic.  It’s a party in my mouth.  It’s an explosion of flavors and smells that causes my belly to do a little dance with every bite.

    I see myself making this dish again during the warmer summer months.  I think I’ll serve it al fresco with grilled steak (or chicken or shrimp), a light refreshing salad, and lots of peach iced tea.  Although the pasta dish should be served warm, it’s just as tasty at room temperature or chilled.

    IMG_7286

     A couple of weeks ago, my mom bought me this cool mini mortar and pestle.  I have been finding any excuse to use it.  Back when I was a little kid, my mom would ask me to help her in the kitchen.  Not only did this keep me entertained for a while, it also meant that my brother and I wouldn’t cause trouble for at least half an hour.

    My duty was to peel garlic cloves and as a reward I got to pulverize them into unrecognizable mush using my mom’s big old marble mortar.  I didn’t mind that it made my finger smell like garlic. Even when my fingers would still reek the following day, I would be reminded that I was helpful and necessary in the kitchen.  My mom probably convinced me that my little nimble fingers were small and perfect for battling the tiny garlic cloves or that her manicured nails were inefficient in doing the task.  I believed everything she said, so I willingly obliged.

    brown butter spaghetti with baby kale and roasted butternut squash

    I think its smart to involve children in the cooking process.  It teaches them about organization, the importance of mis-en-place, and it makes them value food more.  It saves them when they are far away in college or living on their own for the first time.  Sooner or later, fast food and take out can no longer satisfy you and you need real food.

    Brown Butter Spaghetti with Baby Kale and Roasted Butternut Squash, serves 4

    Ingredients

    6 oz spaghetti

    2 cups butternut squash, cut into cubes

    1 or 2 Tbsp olive oil

    1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

    3 cloves of garlic, smashed or minced

    2 small onions, sliced, about 2 cups

    4 packed cups of baby kale

    1/4 cup pecorino romano

    1/4 cup parmesan

    salt and pepper, to taste

    additional pecorino romano or parmesan, for serving

    finely sliced chives, for serving

    Method

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  On a parchment lined baking sheet, spread out butternut squash.  Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Toss to combine.  Bake for 30-40 minutes until squash is soft and can be easily pierced with a fork or knife. Set aside.

    uncooked butternut squash

    2.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook spaghetti to al dente according to package details.  When draining pasta, reserve a cup of pasta water.

    baby kale

    3.  In a large nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium heat.  Once butter is melted, continue to cook over medium low heat until butter has browned and is fragrant (should smell nutty).  Add minced garlic (I like to smash mine using a mortar and pestle) and sliced onions.  Cook until onions are almost translucent.  Add baby kale in two additions.  Cook until kale begins to wilt.  Remove from heat.  Add pecorino romano, parmesan cheese, and roasted butternut squash.  Toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add cooked spaghetti and toss to coat pasta.  Add 1/4 cup of reserved pasta water at a time until pasta is well coated with sauce.  (I ended using 1/2 cup of pasta water).

    4.  Serve immediately with sliced chives and/or more cheese, if desired.

    Brown Butter Spaghetti with Baby Kale and Roasted Butternut Squash

    Yield: serves 4

    Ingredients:

    • 6 oz spaghetti
    • 2 cups butternut squash, cut into cubes
    • 1 or 2 Tbsp olive oil
    • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
    • 3 cloves of garlic, smashed or minced
    • 2 small onions, sliced, about 2 cups
    • 4 packed cups of baby kale
    • 1/4 cup pecorino romano
    • 1/4 cup parmesan
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • additional pecorino romano or parmesan, for serving
    • finely sliced chives, for serving

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  On a parchment lined baking sheet, spread out butternut squash.  Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Toss to combine.  Bake for 30-40 minutes until squash is soft and can be easily pierced with a fork or knife. Set aside.
    2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook spaghetti to al dente according to package details.  When draining pasta, reserve a cup of pasta water.
    3. In a large nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium heat.  Once butter is melted, continue to cook over medium low heat until butter has browned and is fragrant (should smell nutty).  Add minced garlic (I like to smash mine using a mortar and pestle) and sliced onions.  Cook until onions are almost translucent.  Add baby kale in two additions.  Cook until kale begins to wilt.  Remove from heat.  Add pecorino romano, parmesan cheese, and roasted butternut squash.  Toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add cooked spaghetti and toss to coat pasta.  Add 1/4 cup of reserved pasta water at a time until pasta is well coated with sauce.  (I ended using 1/2 cup of pasta water).
    4. Serve immediately with sliced chives and/or more cheese, if desired.

    The Little Epicurean

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    Comments

    Rosie @ Blueberry Kitchen

    Your pasta looks delicious! I’ve never tried brown butter in a savoury dish, I think I need to give it a go!

      Maryanne

      Brown butter is amazing in all applications! Give it a try!

    Allison (Spontaneous Tomato)

    This looks so good! And I was just going to make the same comment as the first commenter– I’ve never thought of using brown butter in savory contexts (other than with fish), but brown butter with pasta sounds like the happiest combination! I love baby kale, too… I would have used even more! :)

      Maryanne

      Thanks, Allison! I kept picking at the baby kale as it was cooking.

    Judy

    I made this tonight and it is absolutely delicious! Thanks!

      Maryanne

      You are welcome, Judy! I am glad you liked it!

    Danielle

    I made this last night and it was delicious! I’m loving your blog, Maryanne!!

      Maryanne

      Thanks for checking out the blog, Danielle! I’m glad you enjoyed the spaghetti. Its one of my favorites!

    Danita

    I made this amazing dish last night for 20 plus people. THEY LOVED IT!! THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR SHARING.

      Maryanne

      You are so welcome, Danita! I’m happy that your party enjoyed it!

    Natalie

    Hi, looks delicious! I picked up a bunch of normal kale at the supermarket today (looks a lot frillier than the baby kale in your pic) – would it work in this recipe, or too bitter?

      Maryanne

      Hi Natalie, normal sized kale should work fine. For large leaves, it would be best to cut off the thick center stalk. Chop or tear large leaves into equal sizes so they cook evenly.

    p--

    Holy cow, is this stuff good!

    Julia Demmer

    Where do you buy the baby kale? I only know the regular size kale…

      Maryanne

      Hi Julia, I bought my baby kale from Ralphs supermarket. I think the brand was Earthbound Farm Organic. Regular sized kale is totally fine for the recipe.

      Julia Demmer

      Thank you!! Kale and squash are a great match!
      I made a salad with (raw) kale and oven roasted butternut squash with a orange/honey/ginger vinaigrette last night…

      Maryanne

      Yes they are! That sounds delicious…I want to try that dressing!

      Julia Demmer

      Heu Maryanne!

      Here’s the vinaigrette recipe:
      ingredients:
      3 tbsp olive oil
      juice of 1 orange
      1/2″ knob of fresh ginger, peeled and
      minced
      pinch of salt
      squeeze of honey

      To make the dressing, combine the
      olive oil, fresh ginger, orange juice,
      salt and honey in a small bowl or
      mason jar. Stir or shake until well
      combined – then drizzle dressing over
      any salad.

      Maryanne

      THANK YOU Julia! I’ll be making it this weekend!

    Musings from a writer's life

    Looks yummy and I’ve put it on my list of dishes to try. I was looking for other ways to eat butternut squash and this looks inspiring! :-)

      Maryanne

      That’s great to hear! Thank you,Sophia!

    DH

    Made for my cooking club….was so tasty. I used spinach from my garden. :)

      Maryanne

      Awesome! I bet it taste great with spinach. Oh, how I wish I could grow vegetables :)

    Alexis

    I used grown up kale, cut up into slices. Left the center stalk in tact and just cooked the Kale a little longer. Added juice from half a lemon. So good!

      Maryanne

      Kale with a sprinkle of lemon sounds delicious and fresh. Thanks for tip, Alexis!

    jrrisk

    I made this dish for dinner this evening after finding it on Pinterest. I reduced the amount of onions because I thought two cups was a bit much. Otherwise, it was good. I think next time I might add some pine nuts.

      Maryanne

      Thanks for trying it out! Pine nuts would be a great addition!

    hipfoodiemom

    hi there! saw this on Foodie Crush. . omg, love this! going to try this recipe soon! Cheers to you!

      Maryanne

      Hi Alice! Thanks! Cheers to 2014! :)

    Diane in NC

    We made this for dinner last night and loved it.