A couple months ago my doctor recommended that I “lay off of gluten” and “avoid things like pasta and pizza.” After this one doctors visit, my entire world as a Sicilian woman fell apart. This sounds dramatic, but, believe me, it’s a very accurate statement. At home, I probably eat pasta six out of seven days a week, and on the one day I don’t have pasta there is a 99% chance I eat pizza. A lot of people think this is “unhealthy” but really it’s just Italian. Anyway, when I was first given these instructions I largely ignored them and tried to pretend the whole thing never happened. I mean, doctors aren’t perfect, so surely this could be a huge misunderstanding. However, after about the third doctor visit, I decided that perhaps my self-undiagnosis was incorrect and that following his advice might be a good idea. He is the one with the medical degree, after all.
It has been a rather slow and difficult process (one that had to be completely put on hold while I was back at home), however, the process has in fact begun. I was completely vegan and gluten-free for three whole weeks before going home for the winter holidays. Since coming back, however, it has been a bit difficult to get back on track, so I’ve decided to motivate myself by allowing two cheat days a week during which I can have one gluten-filled meal. I know it’s not perfect, but it’s better than nothing. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with gluten-free food. I’ve had some absolutely delicious gluten-free baked goods, but there is just nothing like real pasta.
This week, in order to congratulate myself for five full days of no gluten, I made this butternut squash pasta. I chose butternut squash because it’s still in season in Scotland during February and it was on offer at the store. It was the first time I ever made this sauce and I just made it up as I went along, so it’s very simple, but my flatmate and I enjoyed it!
-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
-2 tbsp vegan butter (you can find this in Holland and Barrett)
-1/2 of a butternut squash
-2 cloves of garlic
-1 cup soymilk
-Salt & pepper to taste
-Pasta of your choice (I used 160 grams of fusilli for two people)
1. Peel the butternut squash and chop it into very small pieces
2. In a saucepan, heat the olive oil and add the butternut squash. Use the lid to steam the squash, but remember to stir constantly so as not to let it burn
3. After a few minutes, incorporate butter and minced/chopped garlic
4. Gradually stir in soymilk
5. When the butternut squash is completely tender, remove from heat and mash together with a fork to get a creamy consistency
6. Add salt and pepper to taste
7. Add cooked pasta, mix and serve!
Photo credits: Caterina Giammarresi