Happy New Year! With this new year, my friends who normally are able to attend West World Wednesday have informed me they may not be able to attend every week. Things are about to get crazy and I understand I cannot take one night of the week, every week. My little gatherings are going to be changing days and some new people may be coming into the mix.
Really, anyone I can cook for will be welcome.
But that left me alone this Wednesday, mind racing with what I wanted to make and still hungry. All because it was just me did not mean I was going to suddenly order pizza. And Chicago Pizza?...please...no.
So here is the problem so many of us hate, cooking for themselves and just themselves. How do you cook for one person? You don’t, you cook for two. You now and future you. Why can’t you make a dope dinner that will turn into a dope lunch? Embrace the leftovers!
Chicken & Butternut Squash Pasta in a Maple Rum Sauce
2 Chicken Thighs
2 C Butternut Squash, Chopped
1 Clove Garlic, Chopped
1 Tsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste
8 Oz Pasta
¼ C Rum
2 Tsp Maple Syrup
2 Tbsp Butter
Fresh Chopped Parsley for Garnish
This whole meal can be made in two cooking containers, the pot to boil your pasta in and a cast iron skillet. Limit that cleanup!
Begin by setting your oven to 350℉ with enough space for your cast iron. Prep your chicken making sure it is room temperature, rinsed and dried off. You can do this with a paper towel or let it air dry as the oven heats. Salt and pepper both sides of your dried chicken and cook it for 10 minutes.
In the meantime carefully peel, remove the insides, and chop your butternut squash, half of a small one gave me about 2 cups. We are aiming for some pretty small cubes since the cooking time for the chicken has already started, shoot for a ¼ inch. After your chicken has cooked for 10 minutes pour your butternut squash around the edges, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic. Mix the contents around to make sure they are fully covered. Set your timer for 20 minutes.
While your chicken and everything is cooking set a pot of water on your stove to boil.
After your 20 minutes are up, add: rum, maple syrup, and butter to your cast iron. Return to the oven for 10 minutes.
When your water has boiled add salt, adding salt before will raise the boiling point and take longer for the water to actually boil. Cook your pasta for 7 minutes, we want it to be underdone so we can finish it in our sauce.
Remove your cast iron from your oven and set it on medium high heat on your stove. Remove the contents from the pan by using a slotted spoon, but keep the sauce. Bring your sauce to a simmer, we want to cook out the alcohol of our rum to get a lusciously thick sauce. To thin it out enough to cover your meal add some water from your pasta. Cook sauce for about 4 minutes.
Add your pasta into the cast iron and cook until your preferred doneness. Spoon out your portion and top with a chicken thigh and butternut squash pieces. Sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley. Enjoy tonight and pack up those leftovers for lunch!
Tip: I use my cast iron a lot, and that means that it can look pretty beat after a while. Be sure to season your cast iron after use and do it as much as possible. After it is clean and dry rub down with about a Tbsp of olive oil and a paper towel, inside and out. Place in a 400℉ oven for 1 hour then turn the oven off and let the cast iron cool down with the oven. The oil will work its way into the pores of the pan returning some luster.