Inspired by Amanda Hesser's Summer Weekend Pasta, I wanted to come up with a version for my favorite season. An ode to fall (as well to its briskness and efficiency), this easy, chewy orecchiette number starts with a sheet pan of my favorite things to eat: guanciale, butternut squash, and Tuscan kale.
A note on guanciale: I love the fatty gaminess that crisped-up guanciale lends, but if you can't find the cheeky meat in your grocery store, then pancetta and bacon are perfectly delicious substitutes. —Eric Kim
While the oven is preheating at 400°F, cut up the guanciale and butternut squash. Toss them onto a sheet pan, drizzle with the olive oil, shmoosh them around a little, and roast for 30 minutes. At this point, take the sheet pan out, stir in the kale, and place back into the oven to roast for another 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of generously salted water to a boil and cook the orecchiette according to the box’s instructions, usually 9 to 11 minutes or al dente. Drain and add back to the pot. Tip the contents of the sheet pan into the pasta pot and toss with the Pecorino Romano. Salt and pepper to taste.
Eric Kim is a senior editor at Food52, where his solo dining column, Table for One, runs Friday mornings. Formerly the managing editor at Food Network and a PhD candidate in literature at Columbia University, he writes about food, travel, and culture and lives in a tiny shoebox in Manhattan with his dog, Quentin "Q" Compson. His favorite writers are William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway, but his hero is Nigella Lawson. You can follow him on Twitter @ericjoonho.