So I had a couple cups of baked, smooshed butternut squash in the fridge after making the lasagna, and needed to use it up. A friend suggested making a pasta sauce with it, so here’s what I did:
Sauteed a diced sweet yellow onion in some olive oil, added a big handful of those Costco bacon bits, poured in the puree and heated it all up. Crushed a couple cloves of garlic into the pot, stirred in about a half cup or so of toasted pine nuts, then mixed it up with about a pound of cooked and drained penne.
It was a perfect winter lunch, and it was done faster than the time it took to boil the pasta!
Incidentally, I think I may have found a local substitute for my beloved Scimeca hot Italian sausage: Nottoli’s does a really nice version, along with an Italian grocery that rivals Bella Napoli (Notolli’s has a website, but for some reason it doesn’t mention the Harlem location, which is about a mile away from my house!). Their sausage has some heat, but not in a one-dimensional, overpowering way like some other local sausages I’ve tried, with a good dose of fennel and other spices. They also make another local delicacy that Bill and I have grown fond of, giardiniera, a spicy pickled mixture of vegetables (that sounds pretty awful, but believe me, it’s terrific!).
I have more I’d like to say about the Chicago food scene, but I think I’ll save it for later. Just wanted to let you know I’m still here, and still cooking!