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Whole Wheat Orecchiette Pasta with Sautéed Butternut Squash is a perfect light dinner for the fall season. With butternut squash sautéed with fresh sage and Mazola® Corn Oil, and tossed with a pan sauce, this dish is bursting with flavor without bursting your waistline. A clinical study showed Mazola Corn Oil reduces cholesterol 2x more than extra virgin olive oil. To learn more about this claim, see Mazola.com. Read more for my lighter- swap outs to make a lightened, gourmet pasta dinner that everyone will enjoy.
Fall is here and often that means much heavier dishes—stews, soups, gravies and the like! While it can be tempting to “treat myself” for 4 months, I’ve got a girlish figure I’ve to got to maintain. Even though I tout a lot of “fat kid” recipes, I’m a rather healthy eater. I want to show you a simple and light, yet tasty gourmet dish you can feel good about during fall! All you need are a few lighter swap outs that don’t sacrifice flavor. This pasta dish is pretty much a realistic view of what my family and I eat regularly. At any given dinner, you can expect to see:
- Some sort of pasta
- Veggies galore
- And possibly chicken… because who doesn’t always eat chicken?!
Lighter Swap Outs
The main basis that keeps this dish light is cooking with Corn Oil. Mazola Corn Oil is an all-purpose cooking oil that is a smart heart-healthy choice for your family. Variety of uses include baking, grilling, sautéing, stir-frying, or mixing up a marinade or dressing. In one of the restaurants I worked, we had a creamy and delicious gnocchi dish that used sautéed butternut squash. I was baffled because, up until that time, I had only seen people baking butternut squash in the oven. I thought that it was too dense to cook on the stove top in a reasonable amount of time. I was wrong. Sautéing butternut squash with fresh sage and corn oil really helps the flavor and sweetness of the butternut squash stand out. When it came to deciding which oil to use, I remembered that Mazola Corn Oil has a neutral taste that lets the natural flavor of the food stand out. Another benefit of cooking with corn oil is that is has a high smoke point! Mazola Corn Oil happens to have a rather high smoke point, about 450°F, which meant that I could sauté my butternut squash on the stove in a short amount of time without worrying about my oil burning.
Cooking with Whole Wheat Pasta
Another lighter swap out is in the pasta! Usually, we’re prone to just grab the “white” pasta and call it a day. However, not only is whole wheat pasta a better-for-you alternative, it fits in perfectly with more robust and heartier flavors of fall! A few things to remember about whole wheat pasta. Once cooked, whole wheat pasta will have a bit of a chewier texture than white pasta (think of brown vs. white rice). Whole wheat pasta also takes a little longer to cook than white pasta, but the taste is worth it. Taking the shape of my butternut squash into consideration, I opted to use orecchiette pasta! Orecchiette is Italian for “ear,” and they most certainly look like ears! I like to make fresh pasta, using this recipe (swapping out semolina for whole wheat flour), but store-bought pasta works just fine as well! Here is an awesome video that shows orecchiette pasta being made!
Creating a Delicious Pan Sauce
The last lighter swap out when it comes to making a pasta dish is the sauce! Sometimes, I love a creamy and heavy sauce (hello, alfredo!), but I probably love a good pan sauce even more! The key to making this sauce taste amazing is treating the chicken with lots of love so that the drippings taste amazing! I seasoned my chicken breasts with just a bit of salt and pepper, and poultry seasoning (mine happened to be homemade). I also seared my chicken with some corn oil because, again, super neutral flavor and my sauce would taste the way I wanted it to. This pan sauce was made within the sautéed butternut squash pan using the drippings of the chicken. I sautéed some garlic and shallots in that pan to pick up some of the butternut squash and sage flavors. To pick up all the bits, I deglazed with a touch of pasta water along with the chicken drippings, just to make sure I had enough sauce. It was just enough to coat the cooked whole wheat pasta without leaving the dish feeling dry or heavy. For a bit of fun crunch, I added some toasted pine nuts! Nuts have lots of great vitamins, taste yummy, and provide great texture to a dish! Pine nuts are a bit pricey though, so feel free to throw in some almonds instead! Don’t let fall be the end-all-be-all for your lighter eating! With just a few quick swaps, like Mazola Corn Oil, you can still “treat yoself” without being a glutton. Another fantastic light and gourmet fall recipe to check out is this Potato Gnocchi with Roasted Romanesco with Swiss Chard. If you loved this recipe, feel free to leave a comment (with a rating down below). Happy eating!
- 1 pound whole wheat orecchiette pasta
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and small diced
- 3 tablespoons corn oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 ounce fresh sage
- 2 ounces pine nuts
- 2 chicken breasts
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast pine nuts for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and increase oven heat to 425 degrees.
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil to skillet. Season chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Place in skillet and sear on one side, about 3 minutes. Flip chicken over and finish cooking in the oven, about 15 minutes or until the internal temperature is about 158 degrees.
- Bring a large stock pot of water to a boil and salt liberally. Place pasta in water and boil until al-dente. If using fresh pasta, about 3-5 minutes. If using dried pasta, about 9 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving some pasta water (about 2 tablespoons) to help with deglazing.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and heat 2 tablespoons corn oil. Place squash and sage in pan, season with salt and pepper. Sauté over medium heat until squash is cooked but still firm, about 10 minutes. Remove from pan.
- Remove cooked chicken from its pan and allow to rest. Sauté garlic and shallots in the butternut squash pan until translucent, about 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with pasta water and chicken drippings. Allow to cook for about 2 minutes.
- Toss squash and pasta in the pan sauce. Cut chicken and place on top of pasta. Garnish with toasted pine nuts.
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Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 10 ounces
Amount Per ServingCalories 745Total Fat 25gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 19gCholesterol 51mgSodium 129mgCarbohydrates 97gFiber 18gSugar 3gProtein 41g