• 1 small butternut squash
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp grape seed oil
  • 4 olives, chopped
  • 2 tbsp farmer's cheese
  • 1 tbsp shaved manchego cheese
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1 tsp walnuts, crumbled (optional)
  • 2 tbsp sage
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • More olive oil to taste

Winter is a wonderful time to indulge. The body craves rich foods and flavors – but who says you need to eat heavy? Here’s an idea for an indulgent pasta dish that is an explosion of flavor and won’t make you feel like you need a nap after your meal.

First, add water to a pan and set the flame on high. Peel the butternut squash with a peeler, discard the outer peel. When the outer peel is discarded, you have a beautiful vegetable to work with. Continue to peel (either with the peeler or with a mandolin.) There is no rule here – thick, thin, long and short peels will work.

Peel squash

Once you’ve peeled the butternut squash and the water is boiling, set the flame to medium and throw the butternut squash in the boiling water for 15 minutes. Note: the picture doesn’t show it, but it should be submersed in water.

Cook Squash(3)

As the pasta is boiling, get started on the mushrooms: chop up the garlic and the mushrooms and saute them with a tablespoon of grape seed oil for 7-8 minutes on a medium flame.

Cook muchrooms

While the mushrooms cook, blend the sage and the olive oil in a food processor. Note: sage is bitter. I chose to use it as an accent to this plate to counterbalance the butternut squash, which is sweet. It is a fantastic combination. However, if you have never had it before, try a bit of it and see if you like it before you go crazy on it. 

Next (optional) warm up the sunflower seeds in a pan on medium temperature for 2 minutes. If you are using walnuts as well, you can also throw them together to warm up.

By now, the butternut squash pasta should be ready. Drain it.

Drain squash

Mix the butternut squash pasta with the mushrooms, farmer’s cheese, manchego cheese, olives and walnuts. Add olive oil and salt to taste Note: some people might find the boiled butternut squash a little plain, so be sure to spice it up with a little salt and oil to bring out the real butternut squash flavor. Top it with the sage pesto. If you wish, make dots around the edges of the plate with the sage pesto for decor. Enjoy!

Butternut Squash Pasta with mushrooms and cheese2