annabel cohen
Annabel Cohen (photo: Nathan Skid for Crain's Detroit)

I’m in for a weekend of all Al Dente, all the time. Saturday and Sunday, I’ll be joining the Al Dente team in Washington D.C., at the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show, billed as “the only award-winning consumer event in the nation for cooking and entertaining enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels.”

Al Dente is a featured exhibitor, and I’m coming along for some of the action.

As anyone who knows me knows, I’m among the most enthusiastic, cooking and entertaining enthusiasts around. I’ll be checking out the show and on Saturday, cooking up show-stopping Al Dente pasta and sauces for all the hungry-for-fresh-ideas attendees.

Maybe I’ll get to meet Food Network stars Paula Deen, Giada De Laurentiis, Guy Fieri, Tyler Florence and the Neelys – and they’ll get to meet me and perhaps get a few forkfuls of Al Dente.

I’m not exactly sure what I’ll be concocting, but perhaps I’ll make my recent Halloween party concoction, Squid Ink pasta (black as night) with Acorn Squash. It was a perfect black and orange treat – though it was real (and delicious for a howling, chilly night). Simply tossed with some cream, a bit of fresh sage and fresh grated Parmesan cheese


1 large or 2 smaller acorn squash, peeled with a peeler (as much as possible)

2 Tbsp. olive oil

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Sauce and Pasta:

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup heavy cream

2 Tbsp. fresh minced sage (not packed)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 cup fresh grated (finely grated) Parmesan cheese

1 package Al Dente Squid Ink pasta

Prepare squash: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Halve, seed, and cut squash into 1/2-inch cubes. Toss the squash with the oil, and spread it on a baking sheet. Roast, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Prepare the sauce: Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until beginning to brown. Remove from heat and stir in the cream and sage. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

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