Orzo with Roasted Butternut Squash, Bacon, and Sage

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When the weather cools down, I start to crave flavorful meals like this orzo pasta with sage, bacon and butternut squash. The sage pairs beautifully with the salty bacon and slightly sweet squash. The flavors are perfect for a crisp fall day.

Orzo with Roasted Butternut Squash, Bacon, and Sage

This recipe is quick and easy to put together – great for a weeknight. You could even roast the butternut squash and cook the orzo ahead of time, to make the prep even faster.

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup orzo pasta
1/2 pound bacon, chopped
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper
Shredded parmesan cheese

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Add the chopped butternut squash and olive oil to a large bowl, and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt (to taste) and toss again. Spread the squash evenly on a large baking sheet, and roast for 30 minutes, stirring once.

Meanwhile, cook the orzo al dente, per the package directions. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

While the orzo is cooking, cook the chopped bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove the bacon to a plate and carefully pour all but about 3 tablespoons of the bacon drippings into a glass measuring cup (or small bowl). Reduce the heat to low.

Add the sage, onion power, and crushed red pepper to the skillet and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Add the roasted butternut squash, cooked orzo, and bacon to the skillet, stirring gently to combine. Gradually add the reserved orzo cooking water until the sauce reaches the desired consistency (you may not need to use it all). If needed, you can also add more of the reserved bacon drippings. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook over low heat until the ingredients are heated through.

Serve topped with shredded parmesan. Enjoy!

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Chicken and Butternut Squash Tagine

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Are you tired of your “usual” chicken recipes? Or maybe you have a butternut squash sitting on the kitchen counter that you aren’t sure what to do with. Well, you are in for a treat! This recipe combines ordinary ingredients with lovely aromatic spices and creates an unexpectedly blissful meal. It’s comfort food with a deliciously exotic twist . . . and it’s an easy one-pan meal – bonus! If you aren’t used to working with butternut squash, I recommend that you first peel it with a potato peeler (be sure to get all the way down to the orange flesh), and then cut it in half (crosswise) with your biggest and heaviest chef knife. Then keep cutting it until you have bite-size pieces (be sure to scrape out the seeds with a spoon).

Do you know that you can roast seeds from all types of winter squash, not just pumpkins? Simply rinse the seeds, toss with a bit of olive oil and salt and bake in a 275 degree oven for about 15 minutes (stirring a couple of times). Delicious and nutritious!

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped
1 (15.5 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 (14 ounce) can chicken broth
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 dash cayenne pepper
1/4 cup golden raisins

Heat the olive oil in your biggest skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and onion to the skillet and cook for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked.

Add the garlic, butternut squash, garbanzo beans, carrot, tomatoes with juice, chicken broth, sugar, and lemon juice to the skillet. Season with salt, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, ground cloves, and cayenne pepper. Add the raisins and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, until the squash is tender (and your kitchen smells amazing!).

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