Fall Weeknight Pasta

September 21, 2018

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: 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

Food52 Review: Featured in: A Quick & Easy Fall Sheet-Pan Pasta for Cozy Weeknights In.The Editors

Serves: 2
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 40 min


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 ounces guanciale (or thick-cut bacon, if you can't find guanciale), cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 8 ounces butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 pound orecchiette
  • Freshly grated Pecorino Romano, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
In This Recipe


  1. 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.
  2. 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.

More Great Recipes:
Pasta|Italian|Kale|Pork|Butternut Squash|Sheet Pan|Fall|Weekend Cooking|Dinner

Reviews (10) Questions (0)

10 Reviews

Carla K. October 28, 2018
Eric, You totally speak to my soul! From the Sunday scarries to the sweater! Don't worry, most of us have a "sweater"- mine is a pair of socks I wear to bed (or couch on a cold night). Maybe it's an introvert thing. I'm making this (again) tonight, just wanted to say thanks for a great fall recipe!
Author Comment
Eric K. October 29, 2018
Totally an introvert thing. Thanks for the note, Carla.
tricia October 27, 2018
I favor the lacinato kale. It is greener, stronger and adds a 'tooth' to the dish. Spinach will get stringy and messy. Lacinato is also good in minestrone soups so don't fear buying a bunch and not using it.
Author Comment
Eric K. October 29, 2018
Kit B. October 26, 2018
This instantly became a new favorite meal. It is a autumn on a plate. What more could you ask for?
Author Comment
Eric K. October 29, 2018
Makes me happy.
Connie D. October 7, 2018
Can I use spinach instead of kale?
Shannon B. October 7, 2018
You definitely could. I'm also adding sauteed onions, yummm!
Author Comment
Eric K. October 7, 2018
Of course! I use kale b/c the heat of the oven crisps it up like potato chips, but spinach would work fine here. I'd just check it after 5 minutes, b/c it'll cook much faster than the kale.
Author Comment
Eric K. October 7, 2018
Shannon, some onion in here would definitely take it over the top! Delicious.