Butternut squash with pasta and brats – ? What the – ?
When a family member first suggested this recipe, I couldn’t imagine it working. It just sounded weird. But, this butternut and brats combo works well, thanks to the unexpected collaboration between whole lemon, garlic, and good brats. It’s a regular in our rotation now, and it can be totally AIP (autoimmune Paleo) friendly – just use a grain free pasta. My favorite for this dish is Tolerant Organic Lentil Penne Pasta. It’s hearty in texture and flavor, and beats the bland, limp taste and texture that rice pasta can suffer. For the bratwurst, a good option if you are sticking to AIP, SCD (specific carbohydrate diet), or just fiercely avoiding sugars (common in cured or processed meats including sausage and brats) is this Organic Chicken Bratwurst from Whole Foods. Any favorite brand of your own will do!
If you have time to bake a fresh organic butternut squash, this tastes best, IMO. If not, a good option can be tapped with this organic canned butternut squash. It makes the recipe even faster and easier. And speaking of fast and easy, a couple of tools are handy for this recipe, if you don’t have them already: An ice cream scoop, to scoop fresh butternut out of its skin; and, silicone oven mitts, so you can handle said butternut once it is out of the oven. Since the recipe calls for adding honey and ghee to the butternut while hot, you’ll need to scoop it out just about fresh from the oven.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes!
AIP Butternut and Brats Pasta
A simple one dish meal, warm, hearty, satisfying, and surprisingly delightful!
If you are baking a fresh butternut squash for this recipe, start this about 90 minutes before you want the dish ready.
- Slice the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds, and place face down in a glass ovenproof dish with 1/2 inch of water in it. Use two dishes if needed.
- Place in a 400 degree oven and bake x 1 hour, til a knife poked through the skin moves easily through the squash.
- Once baked soft, remove the squash from oven. Scoop the baked squash out of its skin - an ice cream scoop works well for this task. You may want to wear silicone oven mitts too, as the squash will be very hot, or simply let it cool enough to handle.
- Scoop it into a mixing bowl or food processor. Add the ghee (or butter), honey, and dash of salt. Blend til ghee/butter melts through and all ingredients are evenly mixed. Set aside, keeping the squash warm.
- If using canned squash, heat it in microwave or on stove top, add ghee, honey and salt, and set aside.
Remove bratwurst from the package and slice it into thick coins, before cooking.
Heat olive oil in large skillet to medium-high temperature. Add the sliced bratwurst and brown on both sides of coins.
Lower heat to medium and add minced garlic and scallion. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, enough to soften but not burn the garlic.
Squeeze juice of each lemon wedge in to the sauté to deglaze the pan. Once juice is squeezed out, drop each lemon quarter in to the skillet and continue cooking on low-medium heat for 2 more minutes, so the lemon rinds soften.
Stir in the cooked squash and blend well with the sauté.
Toss the squash sauté over the cooked pasta and serve warm.
We happened to have a bigger than usual squash to use up on the day that we cooked up this recipe - so our images show a lot of squash. No need to go that big, but it works either way.
An easy fast dinner to make, just assemble a few ingredients and serve up hot. The only work is some minor slicing and mincing, and making zucchini zoodles. You don’t need an expensive piece of equipment to do this, and it doesn’t take long. I use an Oxo hand held spiralizer, pictured below (I have no affiliate relationship) which works well. I don’t recommend buying pre-made packaged zucchini noodles, which I have seen for sale in supermarkets. They lose flavor, nutrients, and moisture when packaged this way, and your dish won’t taste as vibrant, but can work in a pinch if need be. This recipe gives each person 5 pieces of jumbo shrimp and plenty of zoodles. I also love to use sweet mini-peppers in bright orange and yellow colors, but regular size peppers can work fine too. Julienne slicing works best to help peppers cook quickly and release their sweetness, rather than large chunks of pepper, which end up competing with the big delicious bites of shrimp for texture. Last tip: It’s easy to overcook zoodles, or to make your frozen cooked shrimp tough by cooking too long. Err on the side of undercooking everything. If you have to as a last step, toss your skillet contents for a few extra turns, cover, and let everything heat through a bit more. The zoodles should have a mild crunch to them, rather than be entirely cooked to soft limp texture.
Use a zucchini noodle maker and make noodles (zoodles) out of the zucchini. Set the zoodles aside in a separate bowl til ready to toss in skillet. Before cutting lemon into quarters, use a grater to grate zest. Set this aside too.
In a large skillet, melt olive oil and ghee together over medium heat. Add minced garlic and heat gently til just starting to soften.
Add julienned peppers next. Increase to medium high heat. Stir quickly for a minute, coating peppers and garlic generously with oil and melted ghee. Cover for one minute and let it heat through.
Next add thawed, rinsed, and peeled shrimp, in whole jumbo pieces. Sprinkle lemon zest throughout; squeeze the chunks of lemon over the skillet, so juice drizzles in. Quickly drop lemon chunks in and toss everything to coat with ghee and oil. Keep heat medium to medium high, but don't allow burning. Cover and allow to heat through for one minute.
Next, toss in zoodles, and combine briskly so all skillet contents are coated with ghee and oil. Work quickly to avoid overcooking the zoodles, which will cause them to release too much water and become limp. Then add garlic powder, cilantro and scallions, and toss again thoroughly to coat everything. Let sit covered for one more minute.
Once everything is hot and zoodles have a slight crunch left in them, toss once more and serve immediately in to generous pasta bowls.