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Chef Poppy’s One Pot Spaghetti and Mac & Cheese with Butternut Squash

    gizdichApple Season and October Recipes
    The best fresh apples can be found at the Farmer’s Markets right now.  I drove down to Watsonville to the Gizdich Ranch to check out a real apple farm. I was actually working on a project for a class about farmers and how they have to diversify in order to make it. Gizdich doesn’t just sell apples, but beautiful pies and cider as well. It’s a beautiful place with rows of old apple trees. So enjoy apples at this beautiful time of year.

    And now for our recipes from class last week. We cooked two pasta dishes that were also new to me. It’s always good to experiment. Our first experiment was with:

    One Pot Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes, Lemon Zest, and Spinach
    This recipe called for putting the spaghetti in a dry pan and adding the ingredients including the hot water.  It was a success, except for the small fire we had with our second batch. There was a loose connection in the propane burner but thanks to all helpers the fire extinguisher was used and a disaster averted. Thank you everyone!

    1 pound spaghetti
    1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
    (around 2 pints)
    2 lemons, tested
    about 1/4 cup olive oil
    2 t. salt
    1 bunch spinach or kale, washed and chopped
    salt and pepper to taste.

    Step 1
    Bring a quart (4 cups) of water to a boil.  Meanwhile, place spaghetti, tomatoes, lemon zest, oil and salt in a large, dry, shallow pan. (The pan should be large enough that the dry spaghetti can lie flat.)

    Step 2
    Add the hot water to the pan with the spaghetti.  Cover pan and bring up to a boil.  Remove lid, turn down, and cook about 6 minutes, using tongs to move the spaghetti around now and then so it doesn’t stick.  Add spinach and continue cooking until remaining liquid has reduced to a sauce and the pasta was cooked through.
    This was a first for all of us, and was quite successful!

    Mac & Cheese with Butternut Squash
    There are a number of steps to this recipe but it is well worth it.

    1 pound macaroni type pasta, cooked ahead
    1 medium sized butternut squash
    Béchamel Sauce (instructions below)
    about 1 cup warm milk
    2 T flour
    3 T butter
    1 cup grated cheddar cheese (more if desired)
    pasta water
    salt and pepper

    1. Cut butternut squash in half and roast on a sheet pan for about 45 minutes in a 400 degree oven.  Squash should be soft when inserting a fork in thickest part.
    2. Cook pasta and save about 1 cup of the pasta water.
    3. Make béchamel sauce. Melt butter in sauce pan and add flour.  Stir with whisk.  Add a little warmed milk and continue stirring, adding milk until consistency is creamy. Add grated cheese.
    4. Puree squash with some of the pasta water.
    5. Place cooked pasta in a baking dish and mix in béchamel sauce.
    6. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

    Unfortunately, we will not be meeting until 2017.  I can’t believe I’m writing that number.  It seems so futuristic!  Next class will be on Saturday, January 28th. Enjoy your holidays and get ready for Chef Poppy 2017.

    Copyright © 2016 Poppy de Garmo