Pasta With Cabbage, Winter Squash, and Walnuts
Some dishes take days of planning and some just pop into your head while you’re fretting that there’s nothing in the house for dinner. This was such a dish. I’d left planning to well after the last minute, so I had to scramble and make do with whatever I could forage in the fridge. It turned out there were hunks of cabbage and squash and a piece of Parmesan. Since there’s always pasta, there was dinner, a scrambler’s dinner that turned into a dish worthy of being made “on purpose.”
This is a good dish to prep with a mandoline, like a Benriner, or the slicing blade of a food processor, although you can cut the cabbage into shreds by hand and, if you’d like, you can cut the squash into small cubes instead of slicing it. I’ve given you measurements, but there’s no need to be precise—a little more or a little less doesn’t matter. As for the pasta, go with what you’ve got.
The secret to the dish’s flavor is the vinegar. Cider vinegar is best, but again, this is a pickup dinner, so pick up what you’ve got. Just make sure to cook it down so that you get its flavor, not its bite. Oh, and there’s another surprise ingredient: dried cranberries—there for tartness, color, and chew.
Makes 4 servings
- 1/2 pound winter squash, such as Delicata, Kabocha, acorn, or butternut, scrubbed or peeled, as you like
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or a little more
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
- 1/2 pound linguine or other long pasta
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 pound green cabbage, trimmed, cored, and shredded (about 2 lightly packed cups)
- 1/4 cup walnut pieces, toasted, if you’d like
- Freshly grated Parmesan, for sprinkling
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, cut the squash in half and remove the seeds and strings (discard the seeds or clean and roast).
Thinly slice or cut into cubes. You’ll have about 2 lightly packed cups.
Warm 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large high-sided skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium-high heat. Toss in the squash, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until it is almost tender—about 8 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the vinegar and cook until it is absorbed by the squash—this is quick. Add the honey and stir to coat, then scrape the squash into a bowl and set aside.
Cook the pasta according to package directions. About a minute before the pasta is ready, toss the dried cranberries into the pot. When the pasta is cooked, scoop out 1/4 cup of the cooking water and set aside, then drain the pasta, leaving a little water clinging to the strands.
Return the skillet to medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil, toss in the cabbage, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for a minute or two, then add the remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar and cook, stirring, until it is absorbed. Pour in the reserved pasta water and cook for a minute, then add the pasta and cranberries and stir it all around. Mix in the squash and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Taste for salt and pepper and see if you want to add a bit more oil.
Transfer to a warm bowl or leave the pasta in the skillet to serve, topped with the walnuts and Parmesan.
Storing: The dish is really best served as soon as it’s made.
Excerpted from Everyday Dorie © 2018 by Dorie Greenspan. Photography © 2018 by Ellen Silverstein. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.