Gluten-free Butternut Squash Pasta

***Please forgive me, but apparently corn, though perfect for anyone that has a gluten sensitivity, is NOT Clean, if you are visiting this blog looking for a Clean recipe, substitute the corn pasta for rice pasta, which would be equally delicious!***

Hands down, the hardest part on the Clean Program is giving up carbs. I am near the end and all I can seem to think of us is scarfing down a big bowl of pasta. As already mentioned, carbs are a major no-no, and so are tomatoes, pasta's
best friend. As mentioned in my previous post, the program's goal is to remove "common allergens, toxic foods and ingredients that frequently cause sensitivities from your diet to promote healthy digestive tract functioning." Gluten is one of those ingredients that is actually a high allergen, while tomatoes are nightshades. Nightshades are fruits and vegetables that contain a substance called alkaloids which can negatively affect your nerve-muscles, joint and digestive function.
While shopping at my local Whole Foods, I cruised by the pasta aisle and daydreamed of the next encounter I would have with my long, lean friend. And then....there it was, calling my name...corn spaghetti, a totally gluten-free alternative. I stood there for a while, considering whether this was a viable lunch option. I was actually torn. On the one hand, it was gluten-free and totally acceptable as far as the Elimination Diet was concerned, but on the other hand, I felt that part of me going on this cleanse was to rid myself of these cravings. I decided that I have been restricting myself enough while on this cleanse and caved in to my craving. Which wasn't even caving in, since again, it is totally gluten-free. Jeez, who would have thought the guilt a gal could have doing some gluten-free shopping!

Next hurdle, was the sauce. Tomatoes, out! Cream sauce, out! Olive oil sauce, not my favorite! I even had to imagine a sauce without the salty decadent flavor or Parmigianno Regiano. And then, it came to me...butternut squash....YES! To take care of the cream factor, almond milk. I left Whole Foods determined to make a creamy, butternut squash pasta recipe that Dr. Junger would approve of!

I have to admit, I was skeptical as to how this was going to taste, but when I took my first bite I had a sensory explosion. I called my husband into the kitchen and he agreed...this is damn good. Best of all, I was getting to eat pasta!

Some tips before you start:
- Whole Foods carries frozen butternut squash. It saved me so much time! If
you can't get your hands on it, simply use a good peeler to remove the skin
from the squash, scoop out the seeds with a spoon, and dice up.
- Use the almond milk sparingly at first, especially when you blend. If the
sauce is still too think, add some more when you return it to the pan.
- Corn pasta breaks very easily, so don't expect to bust out your fork for
a bit of twirl dancing...this is more of a scoop-up meal.
- Taste the sauce before you add the pasta! Adjust the seasoning. I ended up
adding more salt, pepper and even nutmeg.

Clean-friendly, Corn Spaghetti with Butternut Squash Sauce

1 package of corn spaghetti (rice spaghetti if you are on the Clean program)
olive oil
1 package of peeled, cubed butternut squash (You can find this in the freezer section of health food stores, if not available, then you will need one large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes)
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup almond milk
salt and pepper
a pinch of nutmeg
handful of chopped basil
toasted walnuts (optional)

In a large skillet, warm a few glugs of olive oil in the pan. Add the onion, butternut squash and salt and pepper and saute for 5 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and saute for another 3-4 minutes until the squash become somewhat tender. Add the vegetable broth, bring to a simmer, cover and allow to cook for 5-8 minutes. You want the squash to become very soft.

Transfer the squash to a blender and add half the almond milk and a pinch of nutmeg and puree.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until tender. About 8-10 minutes.

Transfer the squash back to the pan and re-heat. Add basil and some more almond milk, if needed. It all depends on what kind of consistency you like your pasta sauce. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Add the cooked pasta into the pan and stir together.

Serve with a sprinkle of toasted walnuts on top for an added crunch.


Cristina said...

I made this pasta tonight (with brown rice pasta) and I must say it was delicious!! The pasta came out really mushy, but it was the first time I used rice pasta so I think I need to get my timings perfected. Its hard to believe how healthy such a yummy dish can be. My husband thinks the next time I make the sauce, it would be nice to leave some of the sauce solid so that there is a bit more bite to it. Thanks for the great recipe and please keep the CLEAN friendly recipes coming!

Krista said...

Thanks, I picked up some rice pasta & was debating on the sauce - can't wait to try this!

Anonymous said...

I have to tell you, I am ending my first week of the ED of the clean program. I made this last weekend and it literally is the best pasta dish I have ever made! It's like comfort food on a winter evening! I did use brown rice pasta, and found that the most important thing while cooking with this particular pasta is keeping a constant eye on the doneness. Mine was perfect, despite the warnings from my friends that it would be too mushy. THANK YOU for giving my tummy a healthy version of mac and cheese!

Daniela said...

To anonymous,
You literally put the biggest smile on my face! I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed this! Thank you so very much for the sweet comment!