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Long name for something I huffed down in about 3 minutes.
It's not often that I strike gold with a recipe. That said, I think I've discovered a pattern: any time I combine roasted red peppers with butternut squash, something magic happens.
By “something magic” I mean “something edible.” Add zucchini noodles made with this genius tool (on par with inventions like the light bulb and gaucho pants) and I become an unstoppable good idea machine. Name that quote.
The great thing about this recipe is that it sounds complicated, but it's actually really, deliciously simple. It involves a zucchini, a butternut squash, a JAR of roasted red peppers (I heart dumping stuff from jars), and a few other easy basics, like chicken thighs.
(Don't be afraid of chicken thighs. They're more moist, flavorful, and nutritious than chicken breasteses. Added bonus? They're less expensive.)
Using cashew cream and zucchini noodles was 100% inspired by this recipe for dairy-free alfredo (YUM!) from Primal Palate.
Yep, that's a glass of white wine in the corner of that photo. And even though it didn't make it in to the main photo, I still drank it. On a Wednesday. At 10AM. That's how we roll when we develop recipes 'round here. Waste not, want not.
HEY: seriously, this recipe seems real long and complicated. But I promise, it's easy. Deep breath. Focus on the reward.
Note: for the roasted red peppers, you'll want the equivalent of approximately one whole roasted red pepper. Some jars have them whole; some have them sliced up. Use your judgement – the recipe won't suffer if you use a little more or a little less. I use Divina brand of jarred RRPs, which you can find on Amazon and almost any store.
Note: for the cashew cream, you'll generally want to soak the cashews first as the dynamic duo from Primal Palate did here. I'm impatient, though, and I simply blended cashews on-the-spot as I explain below. Just keep in mind there might be a more chef-like way to do it.
- Cashew cream (see below)
- 1 Tbs. butter, melted
- 1.5 cups butternut squash, chopped
- 1 whole roasted red pepper from the jar, chopped
- ½ tsp salt or more to taste
- Fresh rosemary (optional)
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup raw cashews
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 2 Tbs. butter
- 1 lb. chicken thighs, cut into long slices and tossed in salt & pepper (to taste)
- All you need is a spiralizer - find it here (Seriously. You need one of these.)
- Oh, and a large (or 2 small) zucchini
- Toss the squash in butter to coat.
- Cook at 450 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until the pieces are completely soft and cooked through.
- Put the cashews and water in a blender and blend for 30 seconds (yep, you need to blend that long - until the cashews are completely dis-integrated)
- Set the cashew cream aside.
- Sauté the onions in butter in a large skillet over medium heat until soft (about 5 minutes).
- Add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant (about 30 seconds)
- Add the chicken thighs to the "base" mixture and sauté until fully cooked (about 10 minutes)
- (Yes, the onions will get a little brown!)
- Scoop out the cooked chicken, and add any remaining base mixture to the sauce.
- Combine the remaining base mixture, the chopped roasted red pepper, the roasted butternut squash, and the cashew cream in a saucepan.
- Use a hand blender to pureé (you can also use a blender; just make sure you vent the lid or allow the sauce to cool before blending or it will asplode)
- The sauce should be thick and creamy.
- If you like "al dente" pasta, top the raw zucchini noodles with sauce and chicken.
- If you like softer pasta, add the zucchini noodles to the saucepan with the sauce and cook briefly to soften.
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