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Butternut Squash and Orzo with Fresh Sage

Butternut Squash is the sort of thing many people like, but don’t attempt to make at home. This is a recipe best tucked into on the first chilly fall nights; it’s comfort in a bowl.

If you haven’t had it before, butternut squash tastes like a cross between pumpkin and sweet potato. Once cubed, you can roast in a 425 degree oven until browned and crunchy, and toss with salt and maple syrup (it lends itself to sweet very well). For this recipe we chop and steam this baby and go the salty route with fresh sage and parmesan.

Sometimes a more complex side dish is nice because if you’re the type to check boxes at dinner, you can mark off the grain and the veggie here. All you have to do is grill up some chicken/pork/shrimp/fish/beef for a totally presentable and nutritionally complete meal. This came together very quickly and would work for weeknights but ALSO for company. It could even be a great holiday option.

Orzo is a small, diamond shaped pasta; nutritionally it is as good for you as pasta is. For some reason people consider it some sort of grain but no, just small pasta. With the chicken stock, the cheese and the fresh herbs this dish is super flavorful. I can also attest to it reheating well. My husband couldn’t eat it (no grains for him) so the kids and I had it with some grilled turkey sausage from the West Chester Grower’s Market. I ate the leftovers heated up over the next few days and each bowl was as good as the next.

Butternut Squash and Orzo with Fresh Sage

Adapted from Bon Appetit

serves 4

2 tbsp. butter

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 2-lb butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded, and cut into 1 in. cubes (about 4 cups worth)

1 tsp. salt, divided

4 c. chicken broth, divided

1 c. orzo

1/2 c. Parmesan cheese (ideally freshly grated)

3 tbsp. chopped fresh sage

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1. Melt butter in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and saute about 6 minutes (or until soft).

2. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.

3. Add squash and stir to coat.

4. Add 1/2 c. of the chicken broth and 1/2 tsp. of the salt. Cover and simmer until squash is fork tender and liquid is absorbed- about 10 minutes.

5. While mixture cooks, bring the rest of the chicken broth (3 1/2 c.) to boil in a saucepan. Add orzo. Boil uncovered until orzo is cooked (according to box directions).

6. Drain orzo and add to the squash mixture.

7. Stir in the parmesan and sage, along with remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and the 1/4 tsp. black pepper.

8. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve, topped with more parmesan if desired.