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YIELDS:

2 servings

PREP TIME:

0 hours 10 – 30 mins

COOK TIME:

1 hours 0 mins

TOTAL TIME:

1 hours 30 mins
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ingredients

15 Oz. Butternut Squash, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 Cup Baby Carrots, cut in half
1/2 Sweet onion, cut into quarters
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Vadouvan spice
3 Oz. Goat Cheese
2 Tbsp. Heavy Cream
3/4 – 1 Cup Chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 Stick Butter
2 Tbsp. Fresh Sage leaves
1 Tbsp. Fresh rosemary leaves
Kosher Salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 Cups Rigatoni #24 (DeCecco)
Cooking spray

DIRECTIONS

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2) Put the squash, carrots, onion, tablespoon of olive oil, vadouvan, salt and pepper in a large bowl and toss to coat all the veggies. Place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or tin foil. Roast for 35 – 40 minutes until veggies are soft and fragrant.

3) Meanwhile, parboil the rigatoni in a large pot of salted water for 2 minutes less than the package requires. *see notes Drain and let cool so you can handle.

4) Remove the veggies from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes. Add them to a food processor or blender, and process for one minute. Add the goat cheese and 3/4 cup of chicken stock, heavy cream and process until smooth. If it is too thick, add some chicken stock. You want the mixture super smooth and creamy and loose enough to pipe into the rigatoni. Taste, taste, taste. Adjust seasoning if needed. Add more salt and pepper if needed.

5) Put the mixture into a piping bag with a plain tip.

6) Use two small cast iron skillets or small individual casserole dishes and spray them with cooking spray. Take one rigatoni at a time and place it standing up in the casserole dish. Pipe the filling into the rigatoni until it is to the top. Continue this process until the casserole dish is full of rigatoni filled with the piped filling. *see notes

7) In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sage and rosemary and continue cooking the butter until first it will be foamy and then you’ll start to smell the nutty aroma brown butter is known for. (about 5 minutes) You’ll notice the butter will start to brown. Watch carefully so it doesn’t burn. Take off the heat to stop the cooking. NOTE: If you burn the butter (You’ll know since it will get black and smell burnt, you must throw it out and start over. This cannot be saved!)

8) Pour a couple of tablespoons of the sage & rosemary butter over the rigatoni in each dish. Cover the skillets with foil and roast in a 375 degree oven until the pasta is cooked and the filling is hot and cooked through. (About 25-30 minutes). Uncover the pasta and spoon another tablespoon of the butter over the pasta and bake for 5 more minutes.

9) Serve and enjoy!

NOTES:  This recipe was completely inspired by a show I saw on Food Network where Bobby and Sophie Flay visit Nancy Silverton’s restaurant at the Roosevelt Hotel in LA.  It is called Barish.  They showed this dish that I thought looked interesting (Rigatoni standing up and filled with a filling.)  I couldn’t tell what it was from the show but I loved the presentation.

A quick look at the restaurant menu described it as Rigatoni then listed carrot, goat cheese, vadouvan, brown butter.  That’s it.  Those were my clues.  Now, a couple of things to note here.  1)  I’m not a big fan of goat cheese.  I don’t hate it, but I don’t go out of my way to use it.  2)  What’s vadouvan?  LOL  After some Googling, I discovered it is a French version curry (more on that below).  3)  I’ve never liked curry, so I was ready to abandon any idea of trying to create some version of this dish. 4)  I’ve never been to that restaurant or tasted that dish so I really wasn’t sure what I was going for.  Kind of like being on chopped!!!

BUT, it was Labor Day weekend, I actually had set aside a day to “play and experiment in the kitchen” so, I toyed with the idea for awhile.  Would I or wouldn’t I try to make this pasta dish?

Let’s start with the idea of curry.  Over the years, I’ve tried it a couple of times.  Once it was so hot, I couldn’t feel my tongue for a day.  The second time, I couldn’t get that smell out of my house for days and no one liked my attempt.  Restaurants were little help, because I didn’t like it there either.  I’ve heard over and over again that curry isn’t one dish but rather a spice blend and if I could find the right “curry”, I’d be hooked.  Still, I hadn’t spent a lot of time trying to find the curry of my dreams.  But when I was trying to find out what vadouvan was, I stumbled across some information that peaked my interest.  Vadouvan is said to be the French curry… lots of the flavor but without the heat.  Well, now we are on to something!  I like spices, I just don’t like heat.  This “curry powder” would typically have mustard seeds, fenugreek, coriander, cumin, red pepper, cardamom, curry leaves and the “French addition” of garlic and shallots.  As with all curries, these ingredients could change and could come in different quantities.  

Vadouvan was described as sweet and smoky… I like those flavor profiles, so I thought, why not.  And so, this recipe was born.  I haven’t made a lot of Indian dishes so this was a nice introduction to those flavors.

With just a handful of ingredients listed, I decided that any cheese filling I made would have the carrots and goat cheese mentioned but I added butternut squash because it is also a sweet veggie.  I added a sweet onion because I rarely make anything without onion.  I roasted the veggies since I knew that would make them sweeter and I wanted them cooked and soft to make the filling.  I needed the stock to loosen up the veggie mix but I added cream for some richness.  As soon as I tasted that puree I knew I was going to love this dish!

The rigatoni took a little thought when shopping.  There is a huge difference in size on rigatoni and if you are going to pipe filling into them, you want the center to be wide so it can hold a lot of filling.  The DeCecco brand did that where as, the store brand was too small.  So, be sure to compare at the store and get rigatoni that has a large hole in the middle.

When cooking that pasta, go a couple of minutes less than the box requires.  It will finish cooking in the oven.

The menu mentioned brown butter (a no brainer with butternut squash) but I added sage and rosemary because those herbs always go well with brown butter and squash.

When it came to preparing the dish, filling all those rigatoni was tedious and it did take a ton of time.  BUT it looked spectacular and surprisingly was so easy to eat.  I just slipped the tine of my fork into a rigatoni and lifted each one to my mouth… NICE!

I would definitely do that presentation again for special occasions or date night, but I also made a dish where I just spooned the filling over the rigatoni in a cast iron skillet and cooked it like that.  Guess what?  It was just as delicious and saved me a ton of time.  So, depending on your schedule, you can prepare and present this either way for fabulous results.  I served this to a couple of picky eaters and they liked it… they didn’t know what it was (that’s a quote) but they ate all of it with gusto and asked when I’d be making it again.

This was the perfect Meatless Monday meal and it turned out great.  It has such a unique and incredibly pleasant, sweet taste.  Give this one a try if you want a whole, new flavorful pasta dish.  If you find yourself loving the taste of this spice, try my Vandouvan Vegetable and Goat Cheese Flatbreads too.  I used the leftover veggie puree from this dish to make the flatbreads.  FAB!!!

Looking for more traditional baked pastas?  Try my Baked Feta Pasta, Baked Stuffed Shells, Ravioli and Squash Lasagna or my Zucchini Lasagne Roll Ups for great family style meals.

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