I love natural vibrant colors and this dish was no exception. Sometimes mixing some unexpected ingredients together makes for a great dish. Developed by the fresh produce I had on hand and my passion for color, the mix of flavors and textures was very tasty. This pasta was a lentil pasta; and it’s just made with lentils…doesn’t really taste much different than traditional pasta. But that is what gives the dish extra protein and makes it gluten-free. These types of legume based pastas come in smaller packages and are a little more expensive than traditional pastas; but you are also getting more for what you pay for. If it’s already got the protein in it, you really don’t have to add much else except some veggies. Having frozen peas on hand is always something I do too since they’re easy to add to many dishes, and they too are a great source of plant protein. Roasting the butternut squash adds a little sweetness along with the peas. The fresh radish and basil add some fresh, crisp flavors that compliment the dish. The almond ricotta, which I also use in a lot of dishes, ties it all together. Some health benefits of radishes include aiding in digestion, lowering blood pressure, and helping to protect kidneys. They are also high in folic acid, potassium, vitamin B6 and fiber. Not just for salads, so add radishes to your dishes.
Heat the oven to 400F. Peel the butternut squash, remove seeds (I keep the roasted seeds for the squirrels), and chop the squash into small cubes. Place the squash (and seeds if you wish) in a single layer on a parchment lined cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt and bake for 25-30 minutes. (Note, the seeds will cook faster than the squash, so you might need to remove them earlier). In the meantime, cook the pasta according to instructions on the box. I have found that the legume pastas work best if cooked on the shorter time option because some of them can overcook quickly. Place peas in a microwave safe bowl, cover with wax paper and heat in the microwave on high for about 2 minutes, turning halfway through cook time. Drain the pasta when done and add to a serving bowl. Drain the peas and add them to the pasta along with the cooked squash. Mix well. For the ricotta, add the almond flour and other ricotta ingredients to a bowl. Mix well to combine and add more of any ingredient that it needs. To serve, add some ricotta over the pasta. Top with fresh basil and sliced radish.