Butternut and other Squash are at their most plentiful in Autumn and, unless you have a lot of cool storage, need to be used within a month or two. (See here for tips on storage of squash.) This butternut and chicken pasta dish builds on the sweet smoothness of butternut squash to make a voluptuous and tasty dish that can be served with pasta, rice or with potatoes and other vegetables. Small portions can also be set into upturned moulds and served as a starter. If you do not have butternut, other firm types of squash can be used, or, indeed, we have also made this recipe with golden courgettes but this does not produce the same texture which is the signature of this dish.
Ingredients for 4 to 5 generous servings:
- 2 table spoons (30ml) cooking oil
- 500g (approximately 1lb) of chicken breast meat cut into 1cm (0.5 inch) cubes
- 2 rashers of bacon chopped into 6mm (0.25 inch) squares
- 225g (8 oz) of onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic (or to taste), skinned and crushed
- Approximately 300g (11 oz) of butternut or other squash, see above, cut into 1cm (0.5 inch) cubes
- 400g (14oz) of canned chopped tomatoes. Some of these may be substituted with fresh de-skinned chopped tomatoes if available to improve the flavour of the dish.
- 1 glass (, 125ml 6 oz) of red wine (we used a Merlot)
- 1 fresh Jalapeno chilli (optional) de-seeded but left whole for a subtle heat or chopped for a more vigorous energy. Other chilli types can be used but caution is advised!
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Dried Mixed herbs and/or Oregano added to taste, start with 2 level teaspoons (10ml)
- Serve with approximately 80 – 100g (3 to 4 ounces) uncooked weight of pasta (spaghetti or fusili) per person or with potatoes and other vegetables as a form of stew.
Prepare all the ingredients. De-skinning the fresh tomatoes is most easily accomplished by drowning them in almost boiling water and waiting a few minutes for the skins to split and/or loosen from the flesh. Heat the oil in a large frying or saute pan and when hot add the onion, garlic, bacon and chicken. Fry until the onion is soft and the chicken has lost all its raw colour. Reduce the heat and add the squash, fry gently for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the chopped tomato, chilli (if used) and wine (if also using fresh tomato, keep this to one side and add later.) Stir and cook for 3 – 5 minutes until the butternut is soft.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, add the herbs. At this point add the fresh tomatoes if used. Stir thoroughly, cover and cook until the chicken is tender.
If looking for a mild heat, remove the whole chilli before serving.