If I had to choose one type of food that I had to eat every day for the rest of my life, it would have to be pasta. Luckily, there are so many types of pasta, both fresh and dried, and when it comes to sauces, your choices are endless. I do believe I could eat pasta every day for the rest of my life and enjoy a new, different dish every day. We love all varieties of winter squash and enjoy it often when it is available. Though I have used squash in many pasta dishes in the past, for this dish I decided to create a creamy sauce using roasted butternut squash, then added crispy pancetta and fresh sage.
This pasta dish has a subtle sweetness from the squash that is balanced nicely with the salty pancetta and sage. I used an Umbrian pasta called stringozzi, but any pasta shape both fresh and dried would work in this dish.
Deborah Mele 2014
- 1 (2 Pound) Butternut Squash, Peeled, Seeded, & Cut Into Chunks
- 5 Tablespoons Olive Oil, Divided
- 4 Ounces Diced Pancetta or Bacon
- 1 Small Onion, Peeled & Diced
- 3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
- 1 1/2 Cups Chicken Broth
- 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
- Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
- Salt & Pepper
- 6 Fresh Sage Leaves, Slivered
- 1 Pound Pasta of Choice
- Shaved Fresh Pecorino Romano Cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Toss the squash chunks with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, then place on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
- Turn the squash over, and continue to cook for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the squash is very tender.
- Set aside until needed.
- 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.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the pancetta to a paper lined plate and set aside until needed.
- Add the onions to the frying pan and cook over medium heat until softened and just beginning to brown, about 5 to 6 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook another minute or two.
- Place the squash, onions, garlic, cream, broth, pepper flakes, salt and pepper in a blender and puree until smooth.
- Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed, then place in a small pot and keep warm.
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of lightly salted water until it is “al dente”.
- Drain the pasta, reserving a small cup of pasta water, then return it to the pot.
- Add the sauce, sage leaves, and pancetta to the pasta and place the pot over high heat tossing everything to coat the pasta.
- If the sauce seems too thick, loosen it with a little of the pasta water.
- Serve the pasta in individual bowls topped with some shaved Pecorino Romano cheese.
- Serve immediately.