Penne with Butternut Squash, Kale (or Broccoli-Rabe) and Pecorino Cheese

What do you want to eat after a long day of hiking or a long day at the office? How about a very healthy, and heart-warming pasta dish that you can cook in one pot? You actually don’t need to serve anything else, except maybe a glass of gamay beaujolais or other light, fruity red wine, and a fresh tangerine for dessert!


  • 2 cups winter squash such as Butternut, Hubbard, or Preservation, peeled, seeded and cut in 1/4-inch cubes
  • 2 cups young fresh greens, such as Red Russian Kale (or Broccoli-Rabe), Green Swiss Chard, or Collard, without stalks and cut in 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 8 oz. dried penne pasta
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese (or Parmesan)
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 1/2 tsp. salt, add the squash, and cook 4 to 6 minutes, until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork. With a slotted spoon remove the squash from the water into a collander.

Add the kale to the water, and boil rapidly for approx. 5 minutes, until the greens are softened. Remove with the slotted spoon and add to the squash in the colander.

Add the pasta to the water, stir to keep it from sticking to itself. Cook 6 to 8 minutes until a piece is al dente when pinched with your fingernails or teeth. Immediately drain the pasta.

Return the pot to the heat, add the butter and olive oil and garlic. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, add the stock and boil vigorously. Add the squash and greens, toss, and cook just to heat through, add the pasta, and coat with the vegetable mixture. Toss in half the cheese, being careful not to toss too vigorously or the cheese will stick to the pot instead of the pasta. Taste and add salt and pepper. Serve immediately in heated bowls or plates and sprinkle over the remaining cheese.