As the temps are dropping into the 50’s & 60’s I am getting in to the fall season more and more every day. I was craving pasta, so I embraced the fall flavors and came up with this Early Harvest dish. You will need:
1 lb cooked al dente pasta (I used Cappellini)
12 oz package of pre-roasted butternut squash
8 oz baby spinach
1 cup dried cranberries
½ cup feta cheese
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons cranberry pear white balsamic vinegar
Bring a large stock pot of water to a boil and add pasta. Cook 12-15 minutes until al dente.
While the pasta is boiling, add 1 tsp olive oil to a large skillet and cook spinach for 2-3 minutes. When the spinach is fully cooked, remove from the skillet and let cool on a plate. Add 1 tbsp olive oil to the skillet and warm up butternut squash (skip this step if you choose to roast your own squash in the oven). After 3-5 minutes when squash has reached desired texture, add the cranberries and stir for about a minute until they are nice and plump.
After draining pasta, coat the cooked pasta with ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil and 3 tbsp. vinegar. Mix in the spinach, squash, cranberries and sprinkle with feta cheese. Top with a little fresh ground pepper if desired.
Note: The cranberry pear white balsamic vinegar is really what gives this dish its kick. It was the perfect complement to the other flavors in the dish. You are not likely to find this vinegar in your local grocery store, but many Olive Oil Purveyor shops will have this or something similar. I bought my bottle in Saratoga Springs, NY last spring, but I looked online and D’Avolio’s (Davolios.com) carries the same flavor.