Remember when we posted a secret date night menu for Valentine’s Day? We gave you all the ingredients to make a yummy vegetable paella, and then posted the recipe a few days later. It sounded like you enjoyed the excuse for a cooking date — we even had a commenter write in, “Let’s just say that the 40 minutes where the paella had to cook were put to good use.”
Well, we’re back with another “romantic” meal in our Cooking for Couples series — since fall is a time when those cozy feelings seem to bring out the romantic in all of us. Of course, you can make it even if you don’t have romantic intentions — it’s just that delicious!
This is a good meal to try if you have a bit of time to spend (about 2 hours), and want a fun activity to share with a loved one. It takes a bit of time to roast the squash and caramelize the onions, but it is well worth the effort! The sweet complex flavor of the caramelized onions accompanied by the buttery smooth acorn squash was out of this world. Add a bit of toasted walnuts, and it’s a delightful cozy savory fall meal. (This meal was the brainchild of Alex, and I must say it is my favorite thing he’s made in a while!)
The preparation involves a bit of chopping and a few different techniques, so if you’re new to cooking, this might provide some interesting challenges (like splitting open an acorn squash – always a fun task!). If you do decide to attempt it with a loved one – just relax, have fun, and accept the risk of failure — but also the potential of learning and ending up with a delicious home-cooked meal.
And, remember you can contact us with questions at any time! We’re on Facebook and Twitter, or you can leave a comment on this post — usually we’re not far away from our devices for long, and can come to your aid if you’re in a pinch :)
- 3 medium yellow onions
- 3 large chard leaves
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 acorn squash
- 4 cloves garlic
- ½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 8 ounces whole wheat fettuccine noodles
- ¼ cup walnuts (optional)
- Parmesan cheese, to garnish
- Set the mood: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Turn on some music. Pour yourself some wine or your beverage of choice. If you’re hungry, grab something to munch on as you prepare your dish. And—relax! Forget about the day's worries and get ready to have some fun in the kitchen.
- Show off your knife skills: Cut 3 onions into very thin slices (or, use a mandoline). Remove the stems of the 3 large chard leaves and chop them into pieces. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet, then add the onions and cook until brown and caramelized, stirring occasionally, for about 40 to 50 minutes. When the onions are done, throw in the chard and heat for a few minutes until it is dark green and wilted.
- Show off more knife skills: Cut the squash in half (taking care; they are a bit tough to cut) and scoop out the seeds. Microwave the halves for about 1 minute to soften them just a bit, then cut the squash into wedges and place them in a bowl. Mince 4 cloves of garlic and add them to the bowl along with 1 tablespoon olive oil, ½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar, ¼ teaspoon dried thyme, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Mix gently to combine. Spread on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and roast until tender, about 40 minutes.
- Boil the pasta: In a medium pot, start some water to boil. Boil the whole wheat fettuccine pasta according to the package instructions. When it is done, toss with a bit of olive oil.
- Toast the nuts (optional): Chop ¼ cup walnuts and toast them over medium low heat in a dry skillet for a few minutes until fragrant, stirring frequently.
- Wait: In the waiting time, clean the kitchen, set the table, assemble other items for the meal, or...you get the picture!
- Serve the meal: To serve, place some pasta on each plate; top with the caramelized onions and chard, toasted walnuts (optional), and grated Parmesan cheese. Place several acorn squash wedges on the side.