It was in this mindset a few days ago that I decided we couldn't eat out another night; I was just going to have to create something from what I had in my kitchen already. I had pasta because I always keep a package of fresh linguine in the freezer (another Fresh Direct stand-by). I also had a butternut squash that I had picked up randomly a couple days earlier. The squash was roasted, the pasta boiled. I melted some butter, browning it and then adding some dried sage. The last touch was to toss the pasta in the butter, put it in a bowl, and top with the squash, some freshly grated nutmeg, and Parmesan.
As usual, I checked WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT to see what they suggested as a wine pairing. As luck would have it, Viognier was recommended with butternut squash and I just happened to have a bottle of Sobon Estate Viognier in my wine fridge.
It was, in every way, a divine pairing. The earthy sage and salty Parmesan brought out all the warm butter and wood from the Viognier; together, it seemed to be autumn personified. I actually gasped out loud; it was that perfect. It's not to say that I don't enjoy most of my wine-food pairings because I do (thanks to Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page!)...but every once in a while you hit the perfect one and there's just nothing like it.
And what about a bad pairing? We once had a young family friend - she was about 18 at the time - ask us how you know when a wine-food pairing is bad. I responded, "It'll turn your face inside out." If you've experienced it, you know exactly what I mean. This pairing was the exact opposite of that.
Eat, drink, and pair up.
NOTE: Your kid(s) won't touch butternut squash? Neither will mine. So I didn't add any to Bug's bowl - she pretty much had just buttered noodles. Then I sliced up an apple and put that on the side for her since that's about the only fruit/vegetable she eats gladly.
ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH PASTA
Recipe by Pinot and Prose
1 pound fresh linguine (dried is fine too)
1 medium butternut squash (about 1 1/2 lbs)
2 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp dried sage (or to taste)
1/4 tsp freshly and finely grated nutmeg (or to taste)
4 tbsp finely grated Parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel butternut squash then cut in half. Remove seeds. Cut squash into 1/2-inch pieces. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Put onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and bake for about 30 minutes until squash is pierced easily with a fork and starting to brown.
2. In a large pot, boil water over high heat and then add 2 tbsp salt to the water. Add pasta and cook according to package instructions (fresh pasta will take only about 2-3 minutes). Make sure you try pasta before draining to make sure it's done. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
3. Melt butter in a large saute pan. Add sage and the cooked pasta; toss. If the pasta seems dry, add the reserved cooking water, 1/4 c. at a time.
4. Add pasta to individual bowls. Garnish with roasted squash, grated nutmeg, and Parmesan. Serve immediately. With a big, buttery Viognier, of course.