A bowl of silky roasted winter squash bisque with homemade noodles — better than butternut squash ravioli
Heather Arndt Anderson / OPB


Superabundant dispatch: Deconstructed butternut squash ravioli and this week’s news nibbles

By Heather Arndt Anderson (OPB)
Jan. 5, 2024 2 p.m.

Chase the winter blahs with pasta and gardening shows

OPB’s “Superabundant” explores the stories behind the foods of the Pacific Northwest with videos, articles and this weekly newsletter. To keep you sated between episodes, Heather Arndt Anderson, a Portland-based culinary historian, food writer and ecologist, highlights different aspects of the region’s food ecosystem. This week she offers a recipe for tender noodles in a silky winter squash bisque that is a convincing (and delicious) substitute for butternut squash ravioli.

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Autumn’s body isn’t even cold yet, and we’re already looking toward spring — and that’s OK. While we can relish the opportunity that winter provides for quiet reflection and stillness, there’s nothing wrong with daydreaming about what’s to come, for setting your intentions. Winter can still be active — it’s the ideal time for pruning most fruit trees, hardy kiwi and caneberries. And if you’ve been meaning to learn how to ferment your own sauerkraut and kimchi, winter is the best time to try — not only are winter vegetables like cabbage and beets ideal for preserving, but lower temps mean fermentation happens at a mercifully slower pace. (Then again, maybe you just want cozy soups and noodly stews, and for that, this week’s recipe has got you covered.) Before refrigeration, vegetables were fermented and stashed in crocks to keep them safe in the cold winter soils. The earliest kimchi was crunchy, salty and nutritious — but it wasn’t spicy. Do you know why? Read on to find out!

Fun facts, garden chores, frybread tacos, an old cidery is new again and good things in markets

Thanks for playing “Superabundant” trivia!

There were a couple head-scratchers in our end-of-year trivia, but you are an overwhelmingly smart bunch of readers! Everyone who responded will receive a “Superabundant” sticker in the mail.

  • How many bee species are there in Oregon? According to the Oregon Department of Agriculture, it’s approximately 500.
  • What do steelhead and rainbow trout have in common? They’re the same species; rainbow trout just never go out to sea.
  • What Japanese ingredient is commercially grown in Oregon — but nowhere else in the United States? Wasabi.
  • Which small Oregon town hosts a corn festival every year? Aumsville.
  • Why are peaches fuzzy? To reduce moisture loss and deter herbivory
  • Which of the four common edible nightshades is not native to the Americas? Eggplant; the other three, tomatoes, potatoes and chiles, are all American crops.
  • In 1959, how many servings did Oregon’s centennial birthday cake yield? Around 40,000 slices of apple spice cake.

It’s never too early to think about spring

The cilantro and cress that we sowed in early November are taking advantage of every fleeting photon of sunlight, and the hellebores (though not edible) are already halfway to blooming. Yes, winter is barely here, but if you, too, are already hankering for a new growing season (or looking for something cozy to get you through the Drynuary doldrums), may we suggest the utter delight of gardening shows? P. Allen Smith’s PBS show may tide you over, but it’s sorely lacking in 15th-century cottages — for that, you’ll want Gardeners’ World on the BBC, now in its 56th season.

Portland pop-up highlights Indigenous cuisine

Indigenous-owned pop-up Javelina in Northeast Portland may not be serving the foods traditionally eaten by Native people of the Pacific Northwest, but their frybread tacos, potato soup and other rotating specialties keep selling out in mere hours. Melanie Henshaw reports for Street Roots.

Fifth-gen Oregon cider maker to open new taproom

For more than a century, the Bauman’s have been making cider on the farm they homesteaded in Gervais, Oregon, in 1895, and this spring they’ll open a new taproom in Portland. (Hopefully this will fill the Reverend Nat’s-shaped hole in Portland cider lovers’ hearts.)

Good things in markets

It’s January, so we’ve got the usual selection of winter greens, winter squash and root vegetables. Mild winter weather means the greens are nice and bushy, and there are tons of delicious Asian and heirloom varieties to offer visual interest. The winter citrus, while not necessarily local, is here to tantalize (and citrus happens to pair beautifully with all the winter stodge) — the new crop of California navel oranges is looking bright and cheery, kumquats and Meyer lemons are beginning to trickle in, and grapefruits and pomelos are ready to brighten salads. Persimmons, pomegranates, apples and pears are still plentiful.

The nonexistent snow means that chanterelles are still coming in from the woods. And since cabbage, radish, onions and Asian pear are at their peak, maybe this will be the year you learn to make your own kimchi. If you don’t like too much heat, you can try your hand at mild and crunchy baek (white) kimchi; in fact, this is much closer to the original kimchi made millennia before chiles were introduced to Korea in the 1500s (it took another couple centuries before red pepper appeared in kimchi recipes). Or for a pop of color and kitchen science fun, you can make purple kimchi using “Red Dragon” napa cabbage, a red onion, purple carrot and purple daikon — the color will change to bright fuchsia as it ferments and sours (thanks, Lactobacillus!).

Recipe: Handmade noodles with winter squash bisque and brown butter

A bowl of silky roasted winter squash bisque with homemade noodles — better than butternut squash ravioli.

A bowl of silky roasted winter squash bisque with homemade noodles — better than butternut squash ravioli.

Heather Arndt Anderson / OPB

Handmade pasta can be kind of intimidating for home cooks, but there are a couple of basic shapes you can make without a pasta machine or other fancy equipment. A gnocchi/gnudi-type of rustic dumpling is an old standby in the “Superabundant” kitchen, infinitely retoolable to cuisines other than Italian — we use the same basic technique for making Ukrainian lenivye (“lazy”) vareniki, and Volga German-style knoephla. And there’s this noodle, which is basically a tagliatelle rolled out with a rolling pin, but cut imprecisely like maltagliati (the name of this homely pasta literally translates to “badly cut”). This type of noodle is pretty similar to the one used in Appalachian-style chicken and dumplings and Amish bott boi.

While this dish hits the same notes as a classic butternut squash ravioli, to take these flavors from autumn to winter, we added tangy ricotta cheese to the noodles and flavored the squash bisque with spices of the Caucasus, like coriander, cinnamon and blue fenugreek. We topped it with pepitas and sage leaves that we toasted in brown butter and pumpkin seed oil. Bonus: pumpkin seeds are a rich source of zinc, which supports metabolism and the immune system — both timely for January, when many of us are trying to kick-start exercise and diet regimens in the middle of cold and flu season. Makes 4 servings.

Note: This is two recipes for the price of one! You can make the soup alone to eat with crusty bread and you can serve the pasta with a different sauce — try it with a hearty ragù or a slick of crunchy chile oil and chopped cilantro.


Squash bisque:

2 lbs winter squash (such as butternut or kabocha), halved and seeds/guts removed


1 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp butter

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp fine sea salt plus more to taste

1 tsp black pepper

¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

½ tsp paprika (hot is fine)

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp ground coriander seed

¼ tsp blue fenugreek (or a couple pinches of regular fenugreek)

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

½ cup half-and-half

1 tbsp lemon juice


½ cup ricotta (preferably whole milk)

1 egg

1½ cups semolina flour


1 tbsp butter

¼ cup raw, hulled pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

4 sprigs of fresh sage, leaves plucked off

1 tbsp roasted pumpkin seed oil (or use another tbsp butter instead)

A few pinches of flaky sea salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and drizzle a rimmed baking sheet with the olive oil. Place the halved squash cut-side down on the baking sheet and roast until tender enough to pierce with the tip of a knife, about 30 minutes. Allow the squash to cool enough to handle, then scoop out the flesh. (You should have about 2 cups of mashed squash.)
  2. While the squash is cooling off, whisk the ricotta and egg together using a fork. Make a well in the semolina flour (either in a bowl or directly on the counter) and whisk in the ricotta/egg mixture until a dough begins to form. Dust your work surface with a little semolina and knead the dough until a smooth and firm but springy dough ball comes together, about 10 minutes. Cover the dough with the overturned mixing bowl and let it relax on the counter for 20 minutes.
  3. While the pasta dough is resting, melt the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat, then the onion and garlic with a few pinches of salt. Sauté until the onions are glossy and beginning to become translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the spices (let them toast for a couple seconds in the hot buttery onions) and then add the roasted squash, broth, and half-and-half.
  4. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer until the onions and garlic are soft, about 15-20 minutes, then add the lemon juice and puree the soup into a smooth bisque with a blender. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed, then leave the soup bubbling gently on the lowest burner setting while you finish the pasta.
  5. Cut the pasta dough into 4 portions and dust the work surface with more semolina. Working with one portion at a time and leaving the rest covered, roll the dough with a rolling pin as thinly as you can. Use a pizza cutter or knife to slice the rolled dough into noodles about 1-inch wide — you can cut the strips into rough squares or leave them long like tagliatelle, whichever you prefer.
  6. To make the delicious garnish, melt the butter over medium heat until it begins to foam, then add the pepitas and sage leaves. Stir until the butter and pumpkin seeds begin to brown and smell fragrant and the sage leaves crisp up, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin seed oil (if you’re not using pumpkin seed oil, just melt and brown all the butter at once) and then turn off the burner.
  7. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then cook the noodles until they float to the surface, about 2-3 minutes. Strain the pasta and toss it with the squash bisque, then portion and serve drizzled with the sage, pepitas and brown butter.

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