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My Zucca is Bigger Than Yours!

My Italian cousins challenged me today, one in person, the other over over Skype.  "Can you make a pasta with "zucca"" , they asked ? "Pasta con zucca" (squash for Italian) is a traditional dish, often prepared in the south of Italy during winter months.  Pasta con zucca , a dish of very humble origins, is not very common here in the US. For those of on vegan kick, it's a safe bet. It works well for Lent as well. 

Strozzapreti con Zucca ed Asiago

StrozzaPreti Pasta in Butternut Squash Asiago Sauce
1 1/2 lb of butternut squash 
3/4 Whole Wheat Strozzapreti Pasta  (Rustichella D'Abruzzo)
Aged Asiago Cheese, grated 
Pecorino Romano , grated 
Chili Pepper 
2 fresh garlic cloves, cut into slivers


Preparation Notes

I used a few tricks for this dish.  Do not overcook the squash. It's nice to bite into some savory chunks of vegetable when you eat this dish. Ensure that the broth is well seasoned. Cook the pasta in the same broth containing the butternut squash and keep it al dente. Add some grated aged Asiago cheese to the broth once the squash is tender. and then to the dish after removing from the . When plating, it is your call if you want the pasta to feel and taste more like a soup, or if you want to serve each dish only with a small amount of broth.  Ask your guests for their preference. I liked my a the drier side.

Our meal , contained another dish that reminded me of  Calabria. A prickly pear based dessert. Enjoy this one too.

Cactus Fig Blueberry Salad with Meyer Lemon Wedges
Cactus  figs, or prickly pears are great. When chilled , they've got a watermelon like taste to them, yet less sweet, and at times tangy and slightly tart.  I tossed them with some blueberries, a few wedges of meyer lemon , a shot a agave syrup and two shots of Cointreau liquor and chilled for at least 1/2 hour.

Warning: you will have to practice cutting them open. Hint, use a fork and a nice, and to not touch the outsides of the fruits. 

Both Cactus Figs and Meyer Lemons sourced at the Fairway Market , "like now other market"

Wikipedia on Cactus Figs :

I could not wrap this up without giving some credit my cousin Giuseppe , "Giusi, the Guiceman" . Here he is exercising away the extra calories gained from a few good glasses of homemade Italian red wine.

Cousin Giusi  Working Out with Calabrian Squash
Salute !


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