Rigatoni with Squash and Prawns

Last Friday, I was craving a night in. So was Sam, so she ventured upstairs for dinner. (If I haven’t been clear on this already, I have two friends in my building. We call it Melrose Place, but we don’t have nearly as much drama. Or a pool.)

I thought I’d give a cookbook that I’d received as a gift, Giada’s Kitchen: New Italian Favorites, a go. The Rigatoni with Squash and Prawns recipe looked tasty and quick to prepare. Two things I very much like in recipes. I also  love anything with butternut squash.

We both enjoyed this pasta, but, for some added kick, we added a ton of pepper. Next time, I’ll add some chili flakes to the sauce and I’ll make sure to buy large prawns — I used regular shrimp that were, um, shrimpy compared to the rigatoni.

A bonus: the butternut squash sauce would be fantastic with all kinds of pastas. I have fusilli and chicken in mind.

Rigatoni with Squash and Prawns

  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb. butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 lb. rigatoni pasta
  • 1 lb. prawns or large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3/4 to 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Warm 3 tbsp of the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butternut squash, garlic, 1 tsp of the salt and 1/4 tsp of the pepper. Saute until the squash is golden and tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the vegetable broth, bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the squash is very soft, another 5 to 7 minutes.
Transfer the squash mixture to a blender or food processor and puree.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta.
Meanwhile, warm the remaining 3 tbsp of olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the prawns with the remaining 1 tsp of salt and remaining 1/2 tsp of pepper.  Add the prawns to the pan and cook, turning once, until just pink, about 3 minutes.
In a large pot over low heat, combine the cooked pasta, pureed squash mixture and 3/4 cup milk. Stir to combine. Add the remaining 1/4 cup milk if the sauce needs to be moistened. Add the cooked prawns, the basil and the cheese. Stir until warm and serve.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.

~Michelle