1 large butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded and cut into small cubes
2 teaspoons dried oregano, divided
1 teaspoon salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 tablespoons dairy-free butter (I love Earth Balance & Miyoko’s best)
6 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 large bunch kale, ribs and stems removed and leaves torn into ~2-inch pieces
12ounces whole wheat pasta, or other long pasta
1–2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice + lemon zest, for topping
Make the pecan parmesan. First, toast the pecans by placing them on a baking sheet and toast for 6-8 minutes, until lightly golden but not burnt. Add the pecans into a small food processor and pulse until pecans are roughly chopped. Then, add in the nutritional yeast, 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt and process until a course parmesan texture appears. Set aside.
Make the squash. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, toss the cubed butternut squash with remaining olive oil, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper together until well coated. Then, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast until tender and golden brown, about 30 minutes, tossing halfway through.
While the squash is roasting, cook the pasta. First, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta; cook until very al dente, about 2 minutes undercooked according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.
Lastly, make the kale. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Next, add the remaining dried teaspoon of oregano, garlic, remaining 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper and red pepper flakes and cook 30-60 seconds or so, taking care not to burn. Then, add in the kale leaves and cook until just wilted – about 4-5 minutes.
Assemble! Add the pasta along with the cooked butternut squash and 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water to the kale skillet. Toss vigorously with tongs and add more reserved pasta water as needed to make the sauce and continue cooking the pasta until al dente, about 2-3 minutes total. As needed, add in a splash of pasta water to keep cooking the pasta and create a silky sauce. You may not need all of the reserved pasta water. Remove from heat and add in 1/2 of the pecan parmesan, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Taste, adjusting seasonings as needed– more salt/pepper/red pepper/lemon juice/parmesan as desired. Finally, divide among 4 bowls and top with more pecan parmesan and serve!