Author Notes: I ran across this recipe somewhere a couple of years ago and had to try it because the notion of butternut squash as a pasta sauce was just foreign to me. But it was so absolutely wonderful, I tweaked it a bit here and there, made it my own, and now it's a standard in the rotation. I love it for a quick weeknight dinner, and I love it for a casual weekend meal for guests with a good Caesar salad and some crusty bread and a nice pinot noir. The sauce, freezes well, surprisingly; I tend to freeze it in one-portion containers so I can cook a handful of pasta while I'm thawing it, and have dinner in a hurry. —Kayb
pound pasta (I prefer linguine, fusi)lli or penne, for some reason
ounces slab bacon or pancetta
shallots, diced small
cloves garlic, minced
cups butternut squash cubes
ounces goat cheese, divided
cups chicken broth
minced fresh basil
freshly ground black pepper
- Peel, seed and dice 2 medium butternut squash (will yield about 3 cups). Set aside.
- Dice bacon or pancetta. Cook in a large saute pan over medium high heat heat to render fat and crisp it up. While that's cooking, dice shallots and mince garlic.
- When bacon/pancetta is crisp, remove to a paper towel. Drain fat from pan, leaving about 3 tablespoons. Add squash cubes and cook until starting to brown on the edges.
- Lower heat to medium, and add shallots and garlic. Cook until shallots are translucent and softened slightly. Add chicken stock (which you have nuked in the microwave to get it nice and hot so it doesn't cool down your pan and slow your dinner). Bring to a boil, turn down to medium low, and simmer until squash is soft.
- Boil pasta and drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water.
- Using a potato masher, the back of your wooden spoon, or an immersion blender, mash or blend the squash and onions into a puree. Stir in 2 ounces crumbled goat cheese.
- Add drained pasta to sauce, tossing well to coat; add reserved pasta water if necessary. Plate and sprinkle with reserved bacon/pancetta, basil, reserved crumbled goat cheese, freshly ground black pepper and grated parm. Serve immediately. Stand by for oohs and aaahhs.
- At the end of Step 6, you can experiment with different spices. I've used a touch of nutmeg, or a touch of five-spice, or some cayenne, at assorted different times. Or nothing at all.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Butternut Squash