I recently discovered whole nutmeg, and I am in love.
I grabbed some on a whim while at Penn Mac a few weeks ago. From the collosal cheese counter, to the To.Die.For. cannolis, to the cheap fresh pasta, Penn Mac has very quickly become my favorite place to shop in Pittsburgh. They keep the whole nutmeg right next to the register to tempt impulse purchasers like me. Obviously, it works.
Whole spices taste better, stay fresh longer, and they are easier to store. I’ve used a variety of whole spices before, but usually that requires dragging out the spice grinder. Whole nutmeg is easy though, because you can just grate it right into your dish.
Freshly grated nutmeg is so fragrant and flavorful. I know some people dislike the strong flavor, but (as you may have noticed) I love it in savory dishes, especially savory dishes like this one that are full of fall flavors.
This pasta isn’t quite as easy as my summer pasta, but it is well worth it. With hearty whole wheat penne, savory kale fried in brown butter, salty parmigiano reggiano, rich roasted garlic, fragrant nutmeg, and sweet caramelized onions and roasted butternut squash, this pasta has all of my favorite flavors of autumn.
(Makes 2 Servings)
1/2 of a small Butternut Squash (6-8 oz.), peeled and cubbed
1/2 tsp of Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Salt, plus extra for pasta water
1/4 tsp Pepper
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
6 oz. dry Whole Wheat Penne Regatta
2 Tbsp. Butter
1 1/2 oz. Kale, stems removed
1/2 cup Caramelized Onions (recipe here)
4 cloves (1 1/2 Tbsp.) of Roasted Garlic (recipe here), minced
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, plus extra
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss the butternut squash with nutmeg, salt, pepper and olive oil, and spread on a foil lined baking sheet. Roast the butternut squash at 375 degrees for about 20 min. until tender.
In the meantime, cook the pasta in salted water according to the directions on the box. Then drain, reserving some of the pasta cooking water.
Brown the butter in a large skillet. (Excellent step by step directions for browning butter can be found here.) Remove browned butter from heat for a couple minutes to cool slightly. Add kale and roasted garlic to brown butter, and place over low heat, cooking until kale is tender. Then remove from heat once again, adding caramelized onions, pasta, roasted butternut squash, cheese, pasta cooking water. Toss and serve warm with extra cheese.
Now that’s what I call a perfect bite.
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