Pasta With Creamy Goat Cheese, Butternut Squash Sauce & Bacon

It is probably pretty obvious if you look back over my posted recipes the past month or so, that I am a little obsessed right now with winter squash. I am enjoying all the different varieties of squash available this time of year, and since squash is so versatile, I am using it in just about everything I make. As well as being delicious, winter squash is a good source of vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, and manganese. A cup of cubed butternut squash also provides 582 mg of potassium, more than the amount available in a banana, which I find pretty amazing! Is it no wonder that I keep trying to find ways to dd it into all of my recipes?

I have often shared that my husband needs to have his pasta at least three times a week. If I get too creative with recipes and forget to add pasta into our weekly menu plan, I will get a gentle reminder. Luckily I love pasta almost as much as he does. The other problem that arrises often is that he’d like me to prepare his favorite pasta dishes over and over again, but since I am always looking for new recipes to share on my blog, he often does not get his way. This pasta dish was created when I was asked (begged) to please make pasta for dinner, but I had already roasted some butternut squash for something else. I decided to switch gears and use my squash as the main ingredient in a pasta sauce. I pureed half the squash and set aside the rest to fold into the pasta at the end.

Generally, you might add heavy cream or mascarpone to help develop the creaminess of the sauce, but since I had neither, but I did have half a log of creamy goat cheese, I decided to use that. I thinned out the sauce with chicken broth, and once seasoned it was creamy, slightly tangy, but had a delicious subtle sweetness from the squash. I added some diced cooked bacon to the pasta for a salty touch and served the pasta with some grated Pecorino Romano cheese. This pasta dish turned out as tasty as I had hoped it would, and in fact was so good, that it will now be on my list of recipes to serve guests when entertaining. The only change I would make next time is my choice of pasta. I asked my husband to pull out a package of pasta from the pantry, and he chose paccherie pasta. I think fusilli, penne, or rigatoni pasta would be better choices, or even spaghetti if you prefer.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2017

Pasta With Creamy Goat Cheese Squash Sauce & Bacon

Ingredients:

  • 1 (2 Pound) Butternut Squash, Peeled, Seeded, & Cut Into Chunks
  • 5 Tablespoons Olive Oil, Divided
  • 4 Ounces Diced Pancetta or Bacon
  • 1 1/2 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 3 Ounces Soft, Creamy Goat Cheese
  • Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 6 Fresh Sage Leaves, Slivered
  • 1 Pound Pasta of Choice

To Serve:

  • Shaved Fresh Pecorino Romano Cheese
  • Finely Chopped Fresh Parsley Leaves

Directions:

  1. Finely Chopped Fresh Parsley Leaves
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Toss the squash chunks with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, then place on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
  4. Turn the squash over, and continue to cook for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the squash is very tender.
  5. Set aside until needed.
  6. Place the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan, then cook the pancetta over medium heat stirring often until it is crisp and brown, about 5 minutes.
  7. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pancetta to a paper lined plate and set aside until needed.
  8. Place half the squash, goat cheese, 1 cup of broth, pepper flakes, salt and pepper in a blender and puree until smooth.
  9. Add additional broth if sauce is too thick.
  10. Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed, then place in a small pot and keep warm.
  11. Cook the pasta in a large pot of lightly salted water until it is “al dente”.
  12. Drain the pasta, reserving a small cup of pasta water, then return it to the pot.
  13. Add the sauce, sage leaves, remaining roasted squash, and pancetta to the pasta and place the pot over high heat tossing everything to coat the pasta.
  14. If the sauce seems too thick, loosen it with a little of the pasta water.
  15. Serve the pasta in individual bowls topped with some shaved Pecorino Romano cheese and chopped parsley.
  16. Serve immediately.