Truffled Butternut Spaghetti
Thanks for all the garden help, everyone, I’m definitely going to take some of the suggestions to heart! This evening I spent an hour or so weeding bed that runs the length of the house behind the vegetable boxes–I swear to something I’ve never seen such a forest of thistles. Wish they’d been nettles because then I would have cooked with them, but these huge and numerous bastards got tossed in the trash. I don’t even want to deal with composting them–you know, just one of those things you want killed and done with.
While I was working outside, though, I roasted one of the last of our butternut squashes and contemplated what to do with it. Tempted as I was by Monica’s recent butternut salad, I felt like I wanted something a little more filling, and soup wasn’t going to hit the spot either (though I think I’ve made it through the fall & winter without making a butternut soup…it just feels wrong!). Then I remembered this pasta sauce from last year, the Pumpkin Cream Pasta, and decided to do a riff on it–this time with truffles!
A friend of mine posted on Facebook a picture of some truffled mac n’ cheese from The Local in Charlottesville. I’ve been dying to go there but haven’t been able to, and the thought of truffled mac n’ cheese makes me all the more anxious. It seriously sounds like heaven on a plate, doesn’t it? I’m lucky enough (apparently) to have tuffle oil and a black truffle that needed to be used ASAP, so veganizing the mac n’ cheese sounded like the perfect solution.
The sauce is simple–roasted butternut, coconut milk, truffle oil, and some spices–but something about it is mellow and warm, a little earthy, a little comforting, and a bit adventurous (or at least out of the norm) too. With some black truffle shavings on top and a salad on the side, it’s the perfect lighter alternative to mac n’ cheese–something that tastes decadent but won’t throw on the pounds (or the guilt). For one of my first attempts at veganizing something in awhile, I’m really pleased with this one! Any suggestions of what I should try next?
Truffled Butternut Spaghetti
1 medium butternut squash, peeled & cubed
1 15 oz can coconut milk
1/4 c nutritional yeast
2-3 tsp truffle oil
1/2 tsp hot smoked paprika
2 boxes spaghetti noodles
Black truffle to shave on top
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
On a lined baking tray, place the cubed butternut squash and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle a teaspoon or so of salt over the squash and crack fresh black pepper all over. Toss to cover the butternut with the oil and spices and place in the oven to roast for 45 minutes (or until soft when poked with a fork).
Remove the roasted butternut from the oven and set aside.
Bring a salted pot of water to a boil and add the spaghetti. Cook until al dente. Remove from heat, drain, and place in serving bowl.
While the pasta is cooking, add the butternut, coconut milk, nutritional yeast, paprika, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Process until a smooth sauce forms. If it is too dry, add a little water to loosen it. Add more salt, pepper, paprika, and truffle oil to taste–you want it to be slightly truffled with a tiny bit of heat and salt. Definitely not bland, but subtle.
If the sauce has cooled, reheat on stove. Pour as much sauce as necessary on top of the noodles and thoroughly mix. Plate and garnish with shaved black truffles.