Orecchiette with Roasted Butternut Squash, Kale, and Caramelized Red Onion

November 21, 2010


Author Notes: This recipe is for the butternut squash lover. It was inspired by a pasta dish that I had at an Italian restaurant in Charlottesville called Tavola (which is outstanding if you are ever in the area). Their version had less butternut squash and a little more cream. I love butternut squash, but if you don't have the same mild obsession that I do, only roast the squash and add it at the very end so it retains it shape. I love this dish both ways.Plum Pie

Food52 Review: WHO: Plum Pie works in media, marketing, and sales in Texas. And -- you guessed it -- she loves pie.
WHAT: Yet another reason to love squash (and kale, and adorably shaped pasta).
HOW: Roast squash in the oven while you caramelize red onions on the stove. Sauté even more squash with garlic and kale, then add chicken broth, cream, and white wine to make a sauce. Mix the sauce with some cooked orecchiette, the oven-roasted squash, and the onions, then top with goat cheese, Parmesan, and sage.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Call us crazy, but we find that on its own, roasted butternut squash can often be too sweet for savory dishes. But pairing it with spicy cayenne, pleasantly bitter kale, and plenty of cheese reminds us we’re eating dinner -- not dessert. Plus, this recipe lets us enjoy squash both intact, as caramelized, oven-roasted cubes, and broken down a little farther into a creamy pasta sauce. Use vegetable broth to make this dish meat-free.
The Editors

Serves: 4
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 1 hrs

Ingredients

  • 1 large butternut squash, cut into small cubes, divided
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Salt and pepper, for seasoning
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 pound orecchiette
  • 1 or 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 ounce goat cheese, optional
  • 1 tablespoon chopped sage
  • parmesan cheese, to serve
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425° F. Toss all but 1 cup of the butternut squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, pepper, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and the nutmeg. Roast until butternut squash pieces are tender and caramelized, about 30 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook sliced red onions until caramelized, about 30 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Heat a pot of water over high heat until boiling. Salt water generously. Cook orecchiette according to package instructions until al dente.
  4. Meanwhile, heat another tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy pan over medium-high heat. Cook the remaining cup of butternut squash for approximately 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add 1/2 cup of the chicken broth and cook until broth is almost completely absorbed.
  5. Remove the middle stems from the kale and roughly chop the leaves. Add kale to butternut squash and stir until kale has softened. Add caramelized red onions.
  6. Add white wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add remaining chicken broth and reduce, about 10 minutes.
  7. Turn heat to low and add the heavy cream. When the pasta is al dente, add it to the pan with the sauce. Add the roasted butternut squash.
  8. Loosen sauce with pasta water if needed. Sprinkle with goat cheese (optional), sage, and Parmesan cheese.
  • This recipe is a Wildcard Contest Winner!
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More Great Recipes:
Pasta|Italian|Onion|Sage|Kale|Butternut Squash|Goat Cheese|Milk/Cream|Nutmeg|Fall|Appetizer|Entree

Reviews (48) Questions (0)

48 Reviews

Hollie P. November 10, 2018
This is a gourmet level pasta dish. Truly fall in a bowl. Make this - you will not regret it!
 
koc March 9, 2018
Fantastic! The depth of flavor is amazing. Already looking forward to making it again next week. Thanks!
 
Hanna C. November 6, 2017
Holy Yum!
 
Alyssa B. November 3, 2017
90 Minutes from start to finish(ing)...including eating! Upped the cayenne to 1/4 tsp for a bit of a kick. Really enjoyed the squash two ways, but I think next time I might puree the roasted bits for a creamier sauce, and chop the kale finer. I also used a goat cheese with lavender and fennel pollen (Cypress Grove's Purple Haze) which was so yum! I will definitely investigate the walnuts/pine nuts for next time though.
 
Amanda October 30, 2017
Loved this! One of the best Food52 recipes that I've done so far, though not a quick one. I agree with the other comments that walnuts would be a great addition and I used a couple extra dashes of cayenne to top it off, which was excellent!
 
erin January 18, 2017
Made this tonight and it was excellent. I realized too late we were out of leafy greens but carried on regardless and didn't miss them (though next time I'll certainly add them). The magic is in cooking the squash two different ways, so don't skip that - it adds nothing to the overall time, and you get the sauce that binds everything together as well as the texture and caramelized flavor of the baked pieces. Having neither stock, wine nor cream I just used water plus a bay leaf for the squash on the stovetop, then stirred in a spoonful of requeijao creamoso (a Brazilian cream cheese) at the end to emulsify. We had some walnuts, as several people recommended, and I think it needed that crunch. Pine nuts would work too. Highly recommended. Oh, and we ate all of it between the two of us!
 
Jane October 12, 2016
Yum! Made this last night but swapped regular pasta for bean pasta. I used Modern Table's lentil pasta. I also sautéed some leftover squash in some olive oil and truffle salt. Simple but delicious!
 
Michele September 23, 2016
I did not think this recipe was worth the effort. Total time was 90 minutes including peeling the squash and the step of sauteeing the squash with squash was too labor intensive. I've made similar recipe where the kale was added to roasting pan with squash, then squash and kale were mixed with heavy cream, parmesan and farfalle right before serving (sans carmelized onions). The dish was essentially the same with less work.
 
Shortrib March 29, 2016
Outstanding! This looked a bit fussy to me but actually came together quite quickly once butternut is roasted & onions caramelized. Depth of flavour is excellent. A wonderful surprise and perfect for a fall dinner... I made it with fusilli.
 
charliebarlie October 20, 2015
I finished eating this 5 minutes ago and I just had to write a comment to rave about how great it was!! I only had a small amount of squash left so I roasted that and substituted the baked squash by baked mushrooms. It was absolutely delicious!! It's a great vegetarian dish too because you don't even notice there's no meat or fish in it!
 
Emily L. October 12, 2015
I made this last night and it was so delicious! the roasted squash is amazing with the nutmeg and cayenne combo, I would probably do all of it like that next time :) I did substitute a coconut milk/almond milk vegan cheese a la Food 52's Vegan cookbook instead of the heavy cream and it was perfect!
 
Stephanie September 4, 2015
This is so good even without the addition of goat cheese. Next time I'll sprinkle with toasted walnuts in addition to the grated grana padano. Perfect fall dish!
 
Theris W. January 11, 2015
I really would like to try this recipe, but I'm a newly diagnosed diabetic, the heavy cream and wine are a concern for me. What would you suggest I substitute it with. Thanks Theris
 
Author Comment
Plum P. January 13, 2015
Hi Theris! You could definitely leave out the wine and maybe add a little more chicken broth. I have tried this with greek yogurt instead of heavy cream and it is really good. Or just leave it out altogether. I'm sure it would still taste great without. I hope you enjoy it!
 
Ilianna P. January 8, 2015
This was so delicious! Although when served it did not look as presentable as the photo. My friends and family truly enjoyed this recipe.
 
Lkw1080 January 3, 2015
What a delicious recipe! The use of the cayenne pepper provided a great contrast to the sweet butternut squash! I used more than a pinch and it provided perfect heat!
 
pennyolsen December 30, 2014
Making this twice in one week....changed it though. Vegetable broth and used power greens....added at the end when mixed with broth over Light Rotini. YUM Delish!
 
shelley December 13, 2014
This was the best past recipe I have ever made. The substituted tomato stock for the chicken stock and used bowtie pasta. We couldn't stop eating it! Thank you.
 
Author Comment
Plum P. December 14, 2014
Wow, such a compliment! I am so glad that you liked it!
 
Katherin December 10, 2014
This dish is delicious, yummy, amazing. I love it.
 
Author Comment
Plum P. December 14, 2014
Thanks Katherin! I am so glad you like it!
 
NancyS November 23, 2014
This was great ..... I'm inhaling it and typing! I did try to lighten it up a bit and it was still delicious (might try vegetable broth the next time as suggested).
 
Author Comment
Plum P. December 14, 2014
So glad that you enjoyed it NancyS!
 
Ida-Maria S. November 23, 2014
Made this a couple of days ago and it was so tasty. The flavour of the sage went really well with the butternut squash (I used a little more than was called for). I'll be making this again!
 
Author Comment
Plum P. December 14, 2014
I'm so glad you liked it!