I modeled this supremely satisfying salad off one that our friend, June, brought when she visited shortly after our son was born a few years ago. I remember it vividly - in part because it was spectacular and in part because I was nursing the baby every two hours at the time and was ravenous around the clock!
After I discovered delicata squash a few years ago, it quickly gained "most favored squash" status in my kitchen. In addition to their divine flavor, one of the nice things about delicatas is that you do not have to peel them - just remove the seeds and cut them up - no need to remove the skin.
The lovely, rich, sweet, slightly nutty flavor of the delicata squash is enhanced by roasting and pairs nicely with the salty, creamy tortellini and the grated parmesan cheese. The greens add a light, fresh note (I only had baby spinach on hand but I prefer arugula as it gives the salad a nice peppery bite), the pepitas add a great, smokey crunch and the dried cranberries offer some tart, sweet notes.
It's hard to stop eating this salad. We made this for lunch today and my husband and I both had to try several times before we were able to finally lay our forks down for good...
I used some fresh tortellini made by La Bella Pasta, a local company that makes great fresh pasta but this would be good with the frozen kind, too. We found a kind we really like called Putney Pasta though I'm sure there are lotsa good ones around.
Roasted Delicata Squash & Tortellini Salad With Cranberries, Greens & Pepitas
* 2 delicata squash, halved, seeded and cut into 1 inch chunks
* 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
* 1 package fresh or frozen cheese tortellini
* 4 cups arugula or baby spinach, washed and dried
* 1/3 cup roasted pepitas
* 1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries
* 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
* Handful fresh parsley and thyme, rinsed, dried and chopped
* Sea salt
* Black pepper
* Olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss the squash cubes with the garlic, a sprinkling of sea salt and a healthy amount of olive oil to coat on all sides on a heavy baking sheet. Put in the oven and roast, removing every 10 minutes or so to turn the pieces to prevent any from burning. It will probably take 2-3 flippings with the spatula and a total of 25-30 minutes in the oven until the pieces are soft all the way through. Remove from the oven and let cool a bit.
2. While the squash is roasting, bring a pot of water to boil and cook the tortellini according the directions on the package (will vary for fresh or frozen) then drain and toss with some olive oil in a large shallow bowl.
3. While the pasta and squash are cooking, wash and dry the greens and chop the herbs.
4. Combine the squash, tortellini, greens, herbs, cranberries, and pepitas in the large shallow bowl and top with freshly ground black pepper and freshly grated parmesan cheese to taste.
Here are a few recipes I was inspired by recently:
You might also like these "squashy" recipes from The Garden of Eating: