It’s that time of year when gardeners can relax – and dream about next year’s garden. Most will have many of the ingredients for this vegetarian stew from their own gardens, but they can also get them at the local farmer’s market or supermarket and no one will be the wiser. This vegetable stew might seem like a lot of work, but it’s mostly chopping: mindless, rhythmic, and comforting. The colors of the dish will brighten these early winter days as you and your guests linger at the table.
- 1⁄4 cup olive oil
- 3 large onions, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 1⁄2 lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 1÷2” cubes
- 3 red bell peppers, cut into 1 1÷2” cubes
- 1 1⁄2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 1⁄2 large bunches of kale (or collards), stems removed, leaves cut crosswise into 1÷2” strips
- 1 heaping teaspoon of dried sage
- 2 cans cannelini beans, drained (Goya brand)
- 1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
- sea salt and freshly ground peppercorns
- freshly grated Romano cheese
- handful of chopped fresh parsley
- 1 lb rigatoni or mezzi rigatoni (DeCecco brand)
Heat the oil in a heavy large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add squash cubes; sauté 10 minutes. Add bell peppers. Add the broth. Cover and simmer until the squash is barely tender, about 10 minutes.
Mix the kale (or collards) and the sage into the stew. Cover and cook until the kale wilts, about 10 minutes, longer for collards. Add the beans and stir until heated through. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.
Cook the rigatoni and drain well. Place in a large serving dish and spoon the stew over the pasta. Sprinkle generously with parsley and cheese. Have more grated cheese on the table.