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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Orzo in Creamy Kabocha Squash Sauce

The fresh harvest, the nippy weather, the pageantry of trees... it must be Autumn!

This Orzo in Creamy Kabocha Squash Sauce captures the mood of Autumn for me, for Autumn is not Autumn unless I indulge in the gourds and squashes and pumpkins.

Orzo is pasta, shaped like rice, only slightly bigger. Kabocha squash soup is a favorite fall meal at home. I wanted to add some body, pump it up a bit for the kids. This almost feels like pumpkin risotto in texture, very creamy, thick and wholesome.

Cook orzo per package directions. I take the short cut - I usually start it in the rice cooker in the morning, before I leave for work. So, when I get home, I just need to make the sauce and finish the dish.

Now, after a bit of trial and error, I have managed to cook macaroni, rotini, penne even spaghetti in rice cooker, al dente, with proper amount of water. This way, I am not waiting for pasta to get cooked in the tight weeknights when all I have energy for is to throw together something simple yet sumptuous for the kids.

Kabocha, a Japanese winter squash is chockful of nutrients - beta carotene, with iron, vitamin C, potassium - rich in fiber, low in fat... all the good stuff.

3-4 cups of peeled, diced kabocha squash
1 small yellow onion, diced
4-6 garlic cloves, crushed
salt to taste
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 cups water or vegetable stock
1 cup evaporated milk or half-and-half

Spices for flavoring:
1 Tbsp dry basil
1 Tbsp dry marjoram
1 tsp dry oregano
1 tsp dry sage
1 tsp dry thyme
1 tsp turmeric powder

  1. Heat oil in a pan, add the onions, garlic, spices and sauté a bit; then add the kabocha squash, water/stock, cover and allow to simmer
  2. When squash is cooked through, either mash with potato-masher or purée in a food processor, return to pan, add the cooked orzo and allow to simmer together
  3. Stir in the evaporated milk, heavy cream or half-and-half, off heat
  4. Garnish with chopped spring onions, fresh basil if handy and Serve warm

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  • At 9:03 PM, Blogger Shwetha said…

    Kabocha squash is something I've never cooked with before. It looks simple and hearty. Can we make this pumpkin as well? I can't think of a closer substitution (not flavor wise but the color).

  • At 9:05 AM, Blogger Sheela said…

    Sure, Shweta, pumpkin would be perfect too - I just find pumpkin a bit too sweet compared to Kabocha, but would still be good :)


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