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On the Town: Grand Harvest

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Ken Vedrinski (left) with Sidi Limehouse of Rosebank Farms on John’s Island; conchiglie pasta with butternut squash, Italian duck sausage, and spigarello; Photographs (2) by Ruta Elvikyte

October 12, 2016

Grand Harvest
Chef Ken Vedrinski prepares a delectable winter squash recipe

written by Marion Sullivan

Harvested in late summer or early fall, winter squash is one of the season’s most versatile and most popular crops. For our October issue’s Chef’s Table, we tasked the chef/owner of restaurants Trattoria Lucca and Coda Del Pesce, Ken Vedrinski, with preparing three dishes highlighting the autumn treat. He created a Tuscan recipe of conchiglie pasta, butternut squash, Italian duck sausage, and spigarello as a perfect primo, or first course. Fat pasta shells stuffed with a combination of winter squash, sausage, heirloom broccoli rabe, and Parmesan are finished with luscious simplicity: brown butter and a shower of more cheese (see recipe below and click here to find his other recipes).

Vedrinski sourced squash varieties from Rosebank Farms proprietor Sidi Limehouse, one of few growers in the area. (Find Rosebank Farms produce at its John’s Island stand, at the John’s Island Farmers Market, or at Look for squash that “feel heavy and solid, with unblemished skin and stems that aren’t dried out,” the chef advises. Store them in a cool, dry place, refrigerating them only after they are cut.

Conchiglie Pasta, Butternut Squash, Italian Duck Sausage, & Spigarello
(Serves 4)

2 oz. unsalted butter
12 large conchiglie pasta shells
4 cups Italian ground duck sausage, or substitute Italian sausage
2 cups 1-inch-dice butternut squash
1 cup packed blanched broccoli spigarello (or substitute any other winter greens except collards),squeezed dry in a kitchen towel and chopped
1½ cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Increase the heat to medium and cook the butter until the milk solids brown, three to four minutes. Remove immediately and set aside

Bring a pot of heavily salted water to boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, seven to 10 minutes. Drain but do not rinse.

Sauté the sausage in a skillet over medium heat until cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a large bowl, reserving the fat in the skillet. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the squash, and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, eight to 10 minutes. Add the squash, greens, and one cup of the Parmesan cheese to the bowl with the sausage. Season with salt and pepper.

Fill the shells with the warm mixture and arrange three on each plate. Drizzle with brown butter and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese.

To read the full Chef’s Table article, click here.

For more recipes and cooking tips from local chefs, click here.