With the weather turning cooler, my menu planning turns to the flavors and colors of fall, and that means butternut squash.
Butternut Squash takes a leading role in this pasta dish, boiled, pureed and made into a rich silky sauce with ground turkey and crimini mushrooms.
The richness of this butternut sauce, with it’s earthy sage and mushroom flavors calls for a full bodied luscious red and petite sirah fills that bill beautifully. Try Holly’s Hill Petite Sirah – El Dorado County. When I made this dish the 2010 was the vintage I had in my cellar, but for all the years I have been drinking Holly’s Hill Wines, I’ve yet to open a bottle I didn’t love.
Holly’s Hill Vineyards produces only Rhone varietal wines and blends made from Viognier, Roussanne, Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah, and Counoise. Co-winemakers, Josh and Carrie Bendick, carefully craft their wines in an elegant old world style, yet each wine clearly is a reflection of the lush fruit grown in their estate vineyards, located at 2700 feet in the Sierra Foothills of El Dorado wine country.
Besides many wonderful wineries to visit, El Dorado County also offers visitors the unique opportunity to re-live California’s Gold Rush history with visits to nearby Placerville and Gold Bug Park and Mine.
Rigatoni with Butternut Squash Pasta and Mushroom Sauce
To make butternut squash puree:
2 lbs butternut squash, chunked
2 cups chicken stock mixed with 1/4 cup of sherry
Boil butternut squash in chicken stock and sherry until tender. Add salt and pepper, 1/4 tsp each of garlic powder and onion powder. Puree squash with immersion blender. Set aside.
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large shallot, minced
2 Tbsp butter
1 pound crimini mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup sherry
2 cloves garlic, minced
1lb ground turkey
3-4 Tbsp minced fresh sage
1 Tbsp fresh minced rosemary
1 cup frozen peas/carrots blend
5-7 oz pkg roasted chestnuts, quartered.
4 Tbsp. butter
4 Tbsp. flour
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup sherry
1 cup whole milk
2 cups of shredded Gruyere cheese
1 lb. short cut rigatoni (or your favorite pasta)
In pan, sauté shallot in olive oil, just until softened. Add butter and mushrooms. When mushrooms have released their juices, add 2 minced cloves of garlic, S&P and 1/4 cup sherry. Cook until almost all juices have evaporated. Remove mushroom mixture from pan and set aside.
In same pan, brown ground turkey with fresh sage and rosemary and S&P. When cooked through, return mushroom mixture to pan and add peas and carrots and chestnuts. Set aside.
In large saucepan, melt 4 T. butter. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute over medium heat. Whisk in chicken stock, 1/4 cup sherry and milk. Cook, stirring, until starting to thicken. Add squash puree and took till thickened. Add shredded Gruyere and cook and stir until cheese melts and sauce is smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Add meat/mushroom mixture to sauce.
Cook rigatoni. Drain. Return to pot. Add 2 cups of meat sauce to pasta and combine.
To serve: Spoon pasta into bowls and top with additional sauce. Serves 4
More on the Wineries of El Dorado Wine Country