Whole Grain Spaghetti with Curried Butternut Squash Sauce and Quinoa-Falafel Balls

Recipe courtesy of Executive Chef John Graziano of Valley Hospital, New Jersey.

Spaghetti and meatballs go meatless; a new twist on the traditional dish. Using whole grain Barilla pasta, and whole ingredients like butternut squash, almonds, olive oil, chick peas, and quinoa, this make-over dish is rich in vitamin A, folate, riboflavin, niacin, and is a good source of fiber while providing no cholesterol or saturated fats.

3 pounds Barilla Whole Grain Spaghetti
6 pounds 1-inch cubes butternut squash
3 ounces olive oil
1 1/8 cups curry powder
3 quarts low-sodium vegetable broth or stock
9 ounces unsweetened coconut milk
6 tablespoons organic almond butter
2 tablespoons white pepper
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 1/4 pounds drained and rinsed canned chick peas
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh mint
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh parsley
6 tablespoons minced garlic
6 tablespoons minced onion
3/4 cup organic tahini
6 juiced lemons
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons white pepper
3 ounces extra-virgin olive oil
4 1/2 pounds cooked quinoa
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
3 ounces extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds defrosted baby sweet peas
3 cups toasted almonds
  1. Cook the Barilla pasta for half the time indicated on the package. Drain pasta and drizzle with some olive oil to prevent from sticking. Place pasta flat on sheet trays or hotel pans and cool in a blast chiller. Alternatively, cool it down in a walk-in cooler. Store in zip lock bags or sealed plastic container; refrigerate and use within several hours.
  2. To make the sauce: Toss the squash cubes with 3 ounces of the oil. Add the curry powder and toss. Spread the squash on a sheet pan and roast at 350 degrees until golden brown. In batches, puree the squash, broth, coconut milk, and almond butter until smooth. Season with the salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
  3. To make the falafel balls: In batches in a food processor, pulse until chunky the chick peas with the mint, parsley, garlic, onion, tahini, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and extra-virgin olive oil. In a large bowl, add the chunky mixture to the quinoa and toss with the flour to combine. Make 1-ounce balls of the mixture, for 120 total. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
  4. For each serving, to order: Reheat 1 cup pasta in simmering water. Meanwhile, saute 5 falafel balls in a hot pan with 3/4 teaspoons oil until they are golden brown. Bring about 1 cup squash puree to a simmer. Drain and add the reheated pasta. Add 1 ounce peas and heat through. Plate the pasta with the browned falafel balls and top with 2 tablespoons almonds.