Chicken alfredo pasta with caramelized acorn squash
This chicken alfredo pasta with caramelized acorn squash is my ode to the end of fall. Squash is so perfect this time of year. Feel free to substitute delicata squash or another squash to your liking. As we start to get closer to winter, winter squash will start to take over. This is the perfect dish to celebrate the most perfect time of year!
Prep Time: 15 min | Cook Time: 45 min | Total Time: 1 hr
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Nonstick olive oil spray
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 tablespoons cajun seasoning
- 1 pound short pasta (I used rotini)
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (divided)
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
- 1 acorn squash, sliced and seeded (skin removed if desired)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Chopped fresh parsley, garnish
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with a nonstick olive oil spray. Add the chicken breasts to the pan and spray the chicken with a nonstick olive oil spray (canola oil spray may be substituted). Season the chicken with salt, black pepper, and cajun seasoning. Place it in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until cooked through. Allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
- While the chicken is baking, prepare your pasta and squash. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and boil until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
- While the pasta is boiling, prepare your alfredo sauce. In a medium saucepan, melt 1/2 cup of the butter. Whisk in the flour and allow it to bubble and turn a golden brown for about 2 minutes. Whisk in the heavy cream and bring to a gentle simmer. Continue whisking until slightly thickened. If you find that the sauce is too thick to your liking, add more heavy cream or milk until it reaches the consistency you desire. Remove from heat and stir in the parmesan cheese until melted. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss. Also add the chicken and toss. Cover the pasta and allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes. This will allow the pasta to soak up some of the sauce, and it will also allow the sauce to thicken.
- While the pasta is sitting, prepare your squash. Whisk together the brown sugar, chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and black pepper. Set aside.
- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil also to the pan. Add the squash and toss to coat in the butter mixture. Season the squash with the seasoning you created in the last step. Cook the squash for about 5 minutes on each side, or until brown and caramelized.
- Add the squash to the pasta and toss. Top with grated parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. Enjoy immediately!
Notes: I recommend removing the skin of the squash before caramelizing. I left it on because I like the way it photographs with the skin on. ;)
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