This was our Date Night last Friday. We ended the evening by watching “Syriana”. I’m still not sure what to make of that movie, it was a tad confusing. Good, though!
Anyway, the pasta dish is one I’ve been wanting to make for awhile now, just because it looks so unusual. In that regard, it didn’t disappoint! I’ve never had pasta like this, and I don’t usually think of paring a light seafood like shrimp with a more heavy, fall flavor like butternut squash, but it worked! It comes from the book “Giada’s Kitchens” by Giada of course. Dessert was Chocolate and Pistachio Truffles, and they were truly out of this world. They came from my newest cookbook, “Classics with a Twist” by Cat Cora, which was a recent birthday present. If the rest of this book is this good… Enjoy!
RIGATONI WITH SQUASH AND SHRIMP
6 tbs Olive oil
1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper
1 cup vegetable broth
1 pound rigatoni pasta
1 pound large or jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
3/4 to 1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the squash, garlic, and salt and pepper. Sauté until the squash is golden and tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the broth, bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the squash is very soft, another 5 or so minutes.
Transfer the squash mixture to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Don’t try to use an immersion handheld blender for this. It won’t work. Don’t ask me how I know that.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain well.
Meanwhile, heat another medium to large skillet over medium-high heat with more olive oil. Toss the shrimp in a bowl with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer them to the skillet and cook about 2 minutes per side, until just cooked through.
In the skillet you used to cook the squash: return the puree to this pan, and add the cooked pasta and shrimp. Add 3/4 cup of milk and stir. Add the last bit of milk if the sauce feels too thick. Now add in the cheese and more salt and pepper if needed. Stir all together, top with the shredded basil, and serve.
CHOCOLATE AND PISTACHIO TRUFFLES
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbs unsalted butter
1 tsp light corn syrup
1 2/3 cups chopped semisweet chocolate (10 ounces)
1/4 cup orange liqueur (I used Triple Sec)
6 ounces dark chocolate
Either 1 tsp dried orange zest, or 1 tsp orange extract
1 1/4 cups shelled, skinned, toasted pistachios, finely chopped
In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, butter, and corn syrup over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the liqueur and chopped semisweet chocolate. Gently swirl until chocolate melts. Set aside and cool for 5 minutes.
Transfer the chocolate mixture to a bowl and refrigerate until it’s firm enough to form into balls. This will easily take an hour. Meanwhile, line a plate or baking sheet with parchment paper.
Using a spoon or mini ice cream scoop, shape the chocolate into 1 inch balls and place on the baking sheets. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes.
Melt the dark chocolate over a double boiler. If you’re using the orange extract, stir it in now. Transfer to a shallow bowl. Place chopped pistachios on a plate, and stir in dried orange zest if using.
Remove chocolate balls from the fridge, and using a small fork, dip each one into the dark chocolate, roll it around to coat thoroughly, then roll it in the pistachios. Place them back on the parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes before serving. These can be made ahead of time. So rich and delicious!