As I’ve mentioned before, I absolutely love Christmas movies. My whole family does. The other day over breakfast, we actually sat and analyzed the merits of various Christmas movies and specials, rating them as good, bad, or craptastic (so bad they are good). Some movies we all agreed on: The Santa Clause was good, The Santa Clause 2 was craptastic, and The Santa Clause 3 was just bad. Others, such as Holiday Inn and pretty much all of the ABC Family movies, caused some controversy. One movie, though, was universally and unequivocally loved: Elf.
At only eleven years old, it isn’t quite a classic at the level of Miracle on 34th Street, but it’s quickly getting there. Thanksgiving night, after I’d seen more than enough football for the day, we popped in Elf and my sister, husband, and I proceeded to quote our way through the movie:
“Byyyyye Buddy…hope you find your Dad!”
“I’m singing. I’m in a store and I’m singing. I’m in a store, and I’m singing!”
“You don’t smell like Santa. You smell like beef and cheese. You sit on a throne of lies.”
And, of course, the best: “We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup!”
This quote, and the iconic scene it is from, is what inspired this dinner. Buddy the Elf pulls out a jug of maple syrup to pour all over his spaghetti. And while marinara a la syrup wasn’t exactly something I was willing to make, I knew that there had to be a way to include maple syrup into my pasta and have it turn out well. Turns out the secret is butternut squash.
Roasted butternut squash is one of the simplest things to make, and adding some maple syrup to the roasting process just enhances that natural sweetness of the squash. It’s a subtle flavor, but noticeable if you’re looking for it. And the red pepper flakes add some heat to balance out the sweetness. Then, by throwing the squash into the food processor, you end up with this great creamy sauce with very little effort. It’s so good! And, given it’s inspiration, so Christmas-y! So go ahead and release your inner elf, and make this dinner!
Maple Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta
- 3-4 cups diced butternut squash (I used the pre-done package)
- 1 large onion, chunked
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- Salt & pepper to taste
- ¼ – ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 lb pasta (I used brown rice pasta)
- 2 cups vegetable stock, heated
- ¼ – ½ tsp nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Spray a baking tray with cooking spray. Toss the butternut squash, onion, and garlic with olive oil and maple syrup. Arrange in a single layer on the tray and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Roast for about 30 minutes, until squash is tender, turning vegetables once.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Before draining the pasta, reserve a cup of the starchy cooking water.
- When the vegetables are done roasting, transfer them to a food processor, reserving some chunks of squash if desired. Puree the vegetables with the vegetable stock and nutmeg. Add starchy cooking water and extra olive oil until you reach your desired consistency.
- Toss pureed squash with pasta and serve hot.
This post is part of A Vegan Holiday, a collaboration among vegan and veg-friendly bloggers. Follow along on social media with #AVeganHoliday. Want to learn more or become a contributor? Find out more here or here.