For a couple years, I worked as a personal trainer as a side hustle to The Bell House. It was a good gig and kept me motivated to stay in shape. I would travel to each of my clients homes with a truck full of exercise equipment. During the summer I was never so tan and during the winter I was never so cold. All my clients preferred to complete their sessions outside. If the weather was too ugly, a garage became a safe haven from rain or snow.
It wasn’t until I went and got myself a bulging disc that stopped my own workouts in its tracks. After a few months of healing, I decided to devote all my efforts to The Bell House and start truly building my brand. I started with The Bell House Bakery Blog.
Truth be told, it was a lot more work to find people who wanted to pay for workouts then it was to find people who wanted to pay to eat! So the decision to go full steam ahead with one venture was a simple one.
Devotion to one’s craft takes time, research, development and money. A new chapter in my career is beginning and I can’t wait to see where the story takes me. I am lucky to have surrounded myself with supportive people who love to eat as much as me.
For this recipe experiment, I created two versions of the butternut squash Alfredo sauce for my willing participants to test out. One sauce was made with cream and spice. The other one was lightened up with chicken broth and had an herbal undertone.
The spicy sauce won the battle. If you are a tenderfoot, don’t click out of this page just yet. This recipe is mildly spicy and actually breaks up some of the richness. For those who indulge in the heat, adjust the sambal oelek to your specific spicy needs.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH ALFREDO:
1 1/2 pounds of butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 sweet onion, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup of cream
1 tablespoon of Sambal Oelek (chili paste)
1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground nutmeg
Salt and Pepper to taste
4-6 strips of crispy bacon, chopped (optional)
Parsley leaves, for garnish
1 recipe for fresh pasta or 1 box of fettucini noodles
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Toss the carrots and butternut squash in olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread the mixture onto a baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the veggies are slightly charred and soft. Now would be a good time to prepare the water for your pasta.
I think bacon is best cooked in the oven on a sheet pan. You can add the bacon the same time as the veggies. Keep an eye on the bacon and check on it after about 10 minutes. The temperature is a little high for bacon. I prefer 400 degrees. However, keep a close eye or cook the bacon before the squash. Adjust the remaining cooking time based on your desired crispiness. No need to flip the bacon in the oven, just let it cook!
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil and the onion. Caramelize the onion, should take about 20 minutes.
Now would be a good time to cook your pasta based on the package directions. If you are cooking fresh pasta, bring your water up to a boil and hold off cooking the pasta until you complete the next step.
In a food processor, dump in the caramelized onions, roasted butternut squash and carrots. Add the cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, sambal oelek and a pinch of salt and pepper. Hit Pulverize!
If you feel the sauce is too thick, add a touch more cream, chicken stock or some pasta water.
Add the sauce back to the large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Now is a good time to cook your fresh pasta. This should only take 3-4 minutes.
Drain the noodles and toss them in the sauce.
Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with bacon, Parmesan cheese and parsley. Serve with roasted veggies and multigrain crusty bread.