A vegetarian Shokichi Squash Ragu with mushrooms, rosemary, and parmesan from my week of Blue Apron meals!
Let’s get one thing clear: I am not a chef. I’m barely a cook. Yes, I bake… a lot. But cooking? It doesn’t come naturally to me.
Since Alex and I moved to Detroit in July, however, I’ve been making an effort to do a lot more cooking. Like, almost every weeknight I make a homemade meal.
And it’s tough. But the most interesting part is that, like exercise, the more I do it the more I want to do it.
Enter Blue Apron. For those who don’t know, Blue Apron is a meal delivery service that ships pre-measured and pre-packaged ingredients to your door. Instead of shipping ready-made meals, Blue Apron gives you all the ingredients in the exact amounts you need, and you do the rest.
So how does the process work? Well, Alex and I tried a week of Blue Apron meals, and I’m going to tell you my honest thoughts. Plus, scroll to the bottom of the post to receive 3 free meals on your first order!
On Friday, we received a big box full of our ingredients for the week. We opted for 3 meals for 2 people, though you can change your preferences on the Blue Apron site. We got to choose our meals from a big list, so we knew exactly what we were getting. The recipe I’m highlighting now was my favorite: A Shokichi Squash Ragu with mafalda pasta, mushrooms, and rosemary.
Here’s a little gif to show you how it works. All the ingredients come pre-portioned and packaged out for you to use. You also receive a recipe card telling you about the recipe, with step-by-step instructions on how to cook it. For this pasta, all I had to do was chop up the veggies and get to work.
I really don’t like takeout; it always feels heavy, salty, and the portions are too big. But when my job is being in the kitchen 9-5, at the end of the day I also don’t particularly want to cook.
With Blue Apron, everything was thought of, from the pat of butter I used to sauté my squash to the tiny sprig of rosemary I cooked into my mushrooms. I didn’t have to meal plan for the week, and I didn’t have to go to the grocery store.
Yet I still got to enjoy a home-cooked meal for dinner. For me the hardest part of cooking is getting everything in its place, ready to go. But when a recipe card and all your ingredients are right there in front of you, the actual cooking is the easy part.
OK but how about the food? This pasta was so delicious, I actually said “wow” out loud, alone, in my kitchen. When Alex got home, I nearly shoved the pasta into his face: “It’s the Blue Apron pasta! It’s so good!”
The only negative I felt from our week of Blue Apron was that there was a lot of packaging. Everything is wrapped in its own container, for obvious shipping reasons. The good thing? Blue Apron is working on it. Their packaging is either recyclable or biodegradable. And by the same token, by only getting what you need, you’re reducing your overall food waste (Blue Apron claims to reduce waste by 62% compared to the grocery store). However, as Blue Apron grows, I do hope they can find a way to use even less packaging.
But overall, for someone like me Blue Apron is absolutely genius. I didn’t have to meal plan for the week. I didn’t have to go to the store 3 times to get ingredients for dinners. And there was no excess food around the house- we had exactly, down to the pat of butter, what we needed for the week.
It was also great to eat something totally different every night. I didn’t have to think of a new and exciting way to cook- instead, I just picked out 3 delicious meals at the beginning of the week, and on Friday they arrived at my door.
And in terms of quality, I was impressed by the freshness of everything. The produce was sturdy and bright, while the packaged items (like creme fraiche) were from awesome purveyors (like Vermont Creamery!).
So my honest thoughts? I’m a huge fan.
Want to try Blue Apron out for yourself? Click here to receive 3 free meals on your first order. Enjoy!
- 6 oz Mafalda pasta
- 7 oz mixed mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bunch rosemary, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 shokichi squash, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 bunch garlic chives, diced
- 2 tablespoons creme fraiche
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- In a large pan over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil until hot. Add in the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned (2-3 mins). Season with salt and pepper.
- Add in ¼ of the garlic and as much chopped rosemary as you'd like. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl and wipe out pan.
- In the same pan, melt half the butter over medium-high heat until hot. Add in the squash and celery, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes, or until the squash is softened.
- Add in the remaining garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add in 1¼ cups water and turn the heat to simmer. Cook for 14 minute, until the squash has broken down and the water cooks off completely. Remove from heat.
- While the ragu simmers, cook pasta in boiling water for 10-12 minutes, or until al dente. Drain thoroughly, but reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
- Add the cooked mushrooms, pasta, creme fraiche, remaining butter, half the garlic chives, and half of the reserved pasta cooking water to the squash pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring vigorously, for 1-2 minutes. If the sauce is dry, add more of the pasta cooking water. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Plate your finished pasta, then top with parmesan and the remaining garlic chives.
This post was sponsored by Blue Apron. Thank you for supporting the companies that help make Broma possible!