I don’t just use my CSA for the family dinners. If I’m planning a party or bringing a dish to someone else’s I buy extra of some items the day I pick up my basket. Of course, this requires you to pre-plan a dish that you need for Friday or Saturday before you arrive at the market (in my case Tuesdays). I realize that this is not entirely ideal. I make the effort though because so many people are curious about the CSA and often ask if I’m eating anything other than lettuce and potatoes in the winter. For the record, there have been no potatoes in my winter basket.
Recently, I was invited to one of those “adult-only tupperware parties”- you know, the kind where the guests are all women and they aren’t really selling tupperware? Of course, I offered to bring a dish. The hostess suggested something “in theme”. In addition to my CSA produce, I just had to bring a dish with…nuts.
Winter Green and Walnut Pesto Pasta
1 1/2 Cups of walnuts
1/3-1/2 cup olive oil
2 bunches of winter greens, chopped with stems removed
2 lbs of butternut squash peeled, seeded and cube
1 lb pasta, any shape
3/4 Cup grated parmesan
salt and pepper to taste
Earlier in the day, peel, seed and cube butternut squash. If you have never done this before, ugh- it is a chore. occasionally you can cheat and places like Trader Joes sells pre-cut squash in a bag for a premium. Perfect if you don’t like the hassle or don’t own very sharp knives. At this point I would bag squash and save for later. I also like to roast the walnuts in the morning and make the pesto. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and spread the walnuts on a rimmed cookie sheet. Bake 5-7 minutes until browned. In a food processor, pulse the walnuts until they form a paste then pour the olive oil into the processor while pulsing. Add salt and pepper and half the parmesan.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and start a large pot of water on the stove. Take the pesto out of the fridge to come to room temp. Spread the cubed squash on a rimmed cookie sheet and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 min. In the meantime, add a little olive oil to a saute pan and cook the winter greens on medium until soft reduce to low and continue to simmer. Cook the pasta according to box directions.
Drain the pasta and add to the simmering greens. Pour the pesto over and toss. Add the butternut squash and parmesan. Serve immediately.