Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Big Bowl of Heaven

aka ... layered bowl of squash, sauteed onions, pasta, and ricotta cheese.

Today was a cold and wet one. I looked out my office window all day, waiting for the rain to let up just a little bit so I could run without being soaked to the core (all I had for running clothes at work was cotton, which doesn't hold up so well in torrential downpours). The rain didn't let up at all, so when I got home I went to the gym for a 45 minute tempo run. Most days I enjoy running in the rain, but today was so cold and I'd had a pounding headache all day, so the gym looked like a much more desirable option. 

I busted out a good 45 minute tempo that I felt really great about. I haven't gotten much sleep this week and have felt myself dragging, but sometimes a good workout is all you need to bounce back (even though that's usually the last thing you want to do). I walked home from the gym, so I ended up soaking myself anyway, and when I got inside I was cold, wet and starving...which calls for some hot, satisfying comfort food. Lately I've had an insatiable appetite for ricotta cheese, and I pretty much think about squash on a daily basis. So that was my starting out point for this meal. The other ingredients were things I happened to have at home (since there was no way I was braving the weather again to go to the grocery store). Thus A Big Bowl of Heaven was born!

  • Squash
  • 1/3 onion, thinly sliced
  • Whole wheat penne
  • Ricotta Cheese (to taste)
  • Olive oil
  • Spices
At the farmer's market on Sunday I bought this beauty:

This is Amber Cup squash, which is very similar to butternut squash (my favorite) but is said to be a bit sweeter. I heated it in the microwave for 3 minutes so I could easily cut it in half. I  scooped out all of the seeds and placed the halves face down in a pan and added a few tablespoons of water.

Cook at 375 degrees for about 35 minutes.

As the squash cooked, I prepared my whole wheat penne and also sauteed my onions.

I cooked them until they were translucent and a tiny bit browned.

Take the squash out of the oven:

I only needed half of the squash for this recipe. I scooped out all of the squash and put in a bowl, added some spices (thyme and pepper) and mashed the squash up with a fork.

In a nice big bowl I made my layered pasta (I wish it was a glass bowl so you could see the layers, but I'll give you the play by play):

Bottom layer: Mashed squash
Next layer: Sauteed onions

Next layer: Ricotta cheese

Next layer: pasta

Next layer: Sauteed onions
Next layer: Squash

Top it off with a scoop of ricotta!

All of the ingredients were hot except for the ricotta cheese. If I'd made this in a Pyrex I could have popped it in the oven for 5 or 10 minutes, but instead I just microwaved for 2 minutes to heat the cheese.

Mix it up a little bit and dig in!

This was exactly what I was in the mood for after a hard workout and a cold walk in the rain. And yes, I did eat the entire Big Bowl of Heaven!

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