Thursday, February 11, 2010

I Heart Rachel Ray

As a new "Stay at Home Person" I have become guilty of watching a lot of daytime TV. You know daytime TV... aimed at housewives, unemployed people, or folks who are in need of workman's comp. Luckily in Ireland we don't have all those obnoxious no win no fee attorney ads, we're just stuck with "MONEY 4 GOLD".

Anyways.... one show I have become addicted to and excited about is Rachael Ray. Yeah it's got the usual chat show dross, but it also has great cooking ideas, including ways to make a little bit of food go a long way... very important for a non-earner like myself.

So here's one I tried out earlier, her Butternut Bowtie Pasta Bake Fakeout. On the show she described it as a fakeout because she makes a golden "cheesy" sauce out of the much healthier butternet squash. Aside from just the health side of things, squash is also a lot cheaper than mounds of cheese. You can find the recipe here:

I changed it up a bit, cuz that's the beauty of food, there are no hard & fast rules. Rather than bowties I went with shells cuz I thought they'd be nicer in a fake macaroni & cheese dish... I also had no sage leaves, so I added a store-bought pesto to the sauce as well as dotted more pesto on the top of the bake. On the website Rach suggests sprinkling almonds on top, instead I added some nice sharp cheddar... to add to the "fakeout".

The results? Roasting the squash took a while, and there's a lot of dishes to cleanup - esp as I used a food processor (apparently you could use a potato masher). I did enjoy making a gorgeous golden sauce that didn't actually include cheese, but the end result was quite heavy & filling, and according to the boyfriend... bland.

I think it's worth trying again, personally I enjoyed it, but here's what I would change: I would use less squash in the sauce and more milk to make it thinner. It was HEAVY. I would also use a lot more pesto... or just a lot more seasoning. When eating, every time you hit a pesto pocket it was divine, the rest was just okay. If I'm feeling brave the next time, I might even add some Tabasco... which goes with everything... in theory.


Oh and PS, if you have a veggie-loving cat like me, beware of leaving out your unused cooked butternut squash & husks. I got to wake up the next morning cleaning up golden orange cat barf. Nice.

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