We had a BBQ with some coworkers to say goodbye to summer and hello to a new batch of kids. So of course we needed plenty of alcohol. There was a lot of food and fun to be had. So much, in fact, that my cohost couldn't make the gauntlet and never returned from a bathroom break. We moved on like a herd of wild beasts, leaving the weak behind to fend for themselves.
As you can imagine, we weren't quite feeling 100% the next day. I had been planning on making an orzo dish but the thought of a heavy sauce was...unappetizing. This recipe stems from my want of making a light but filling meal.
Creamed squash is a great alternative to a milk based sauce. The sweetness of the squash in this dish pairs well with the light flavor of star anise. It could easily be made vegetarian by switching out the chicken stock for vegetable stock or using more of the saved pasta water.
Acorn Squash Orzo Recipe
- 1 cup orzo
- 1 acorn squash
- 2 pieces star anise
- 3-4 cups water, salted
- 1/4 + cup chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt, to taste
- Parmesan cheese and cilantro for garnish
- Cut the acorn squash in half and remove seeds and string. Bake them at 375F, face down on a cookie sheet till tender
- In a large pot boil the orzo in the salted water with the star anise. When the orzo is cooked, remove star anise and drain the water into a bowl to use later
- After the squash has cooled peel off and discard the skin. Cut into small pieces and fry in the olive oil. Add garlic powder to the squash and stir in a couple pinches of salt. Add the leftover pasta water to the squash, about a 1/4 cup. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and blend everything till creamy. Add more stock if necessary to reach desired consistency
- Mix the squash sauce to the orzo. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and cilantro (optional)
Although the Parmesan cheese is optional I strongly recommend it to add that umami flavour. Fistpump!