Rustic Squash Noodles with Brown Butter Pecan Manchego Sauce

By • October 4, 2016 0 Comments

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Rustic Squash Noodles with Brown Butter Pecan Manchego Sauce


Author Notes: I attempted to swap roasted squash in for the potato in the potato trofie recipe from the book Pasta by Hand. The texture of the dough seemed right, so I started to shape the trofie. I had conveniently forgotten what a slow process shaping trofie was. I decided to just shape enough for a supper side for two, then put the rest of the dough in the fridge. I pondered how to shape rest of the dough so the next morning I turned some into simple gnocchi. When boiled the texture was too chewy and dense. I rolled the rest of the dough into a thin rectangle, then cut it into rustic noodles which gave the relative simplicity and good texture I was looking for. To sauce the noodles I went with a classic brown butter and sage combo, with some pecans to add texture and reinforce the nutty notes from the brown butter and squash. The end result was good, but a bit on the sweet side. I remembered a simple buttered noodle with Manchego cheese recipe from the Toro Bravo cookbook, so I made another batch of noodles and added some grated Manchego for the salty and savory flavors the sauce lacked. Success! Here is that iteration:hardlikearmour

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Serves 3 to 4 (2 if it's all you're eating and you're hungry)

Rustic Squash Noodles

  • 200 grams roasted kabocha or red kuri squash (flesh only)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 285 grams bread flour, plus additional for dusting
  • 1 large egg
  1. To prepare the squash: Heat oven to 400º F with rack in lower middle position. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Line a rimmed sheet pan with foil. Brush foil and cut surface of squash with olive oil. Roast cut side down until squash can easily be pierced easily with a skewer, about 45 minutes. Let cool before proceeding with recipe. Note: 200 grams is about 1/4 of a 4ish pound squash.
  2. Combine squash, salt, and nutmeg in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium for 30 to 60 seconds, until thoroughly puréed, scraping the bowl once in the process. Add the flour and mix on low speed until combined. Add the egg and mix on medium-low speed until dough comes together.
  3. Form the dough into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes, then knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. If the dough is sticky while kneading, sprinkle on a small amount of flour. Wrap the dough ball in plastic, and let rest an hour at room temperature. Dough may be refrigerated at this point.
  4. Divide dough into halves. Keep one half covered while working with the other half. Lightly dust counter with flour. Roll dough into an approximate 12- by 15-inch rectangle (30 by 40 cm). Flip and rotate dough several times during the process to get an even thickness. Dust surface of dough with flour, then fold like a letter into a 4- by 15-inch rectangle, dusting each fold with flour. Using a pizza cutter cut dough into approximately 1/4-inch (0.6cm) inch strips. Make a small pile of flour on the counter or a parchment lined baking sheet. Unfold the noodles into the flour, tossing occasionally to coat. Repeat with second half of dough. Set aside until ready to cook. (You may spread the noodles out on a rimmed baking sheet that's been lined with parchment, and dusted with flour, then freeze them. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer bag. Use within one month and cook straight from the freezer).

Sauce & Making the dish

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped sage leaves
  • 4 ounces grated 4-month Manchego cheese
  1. Bring 4-quarts water to boil in a large pot. Salt with generous amount kosher salt (a small palmful). Heat 12-inch sauté pan on low heat.
  2. While the water is coming to a boil prep the sauce ingredients, and if you've not done so already, form the noodles. (If you reach a boil before you've finished with the noodles, turn the heat down to maintain a simmer).
  3. Add the butter to the sauté pan, and increase the heat to medium-low. Once the butter is melted add the pecans and sage, and stir occasionally. Once the mixture starts to smell nutty it is time to cook the noodles. Add noodles to the water in 2 to 3 handfuls. Stir once all the noodles are added. It should only take about 2 minutes for the noodles to cook, but you'll need to keep an eye on your butter -- if it's nicely brown before the noodles are done remove the pan from the heat.
  4. Once the noodles are done use tongs or a spider to transfer them to the sauté pan. Add 1/4 cup of the pasta water, and about 3/4 of the grated cheese. Use tongs to stir and toss the pasta (over medium-low), until the noodles are fairly dry yet coated with the cheese and butter sauce (about 1 minute).
  5. Divide onto serving plates and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Serve immediately.

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