Open Arms of Minnesota

Potluck Recipe #32: Pasta with Butternut Squash and Sage

We had fledgling squashes growing in our garden, but they are frozen in their lilliputian state because of the recent frost — their leaves are black and the vines have all dried up. They will likely never be good for eating, but they still look great, so we will probably bring them inside for fall decoration. Luckily, the co-op and farmers markets have all kinds of squash right now, perfect for fall-tinged recipes like this one.

This pasta recipe plays on the natural partnership of sage and butternut squash. For a more savory flavor, toss a little sautéed pancetta or bacon into the pasta.

Pasta with Butternut Squash and Sage

(serves 4)

1 lb. butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. olive oil
3/4 cup chicken broth
3 tsp. fresh sage, chopped
1 lb. gemelli or penne rigate pasta
3 tbsp. fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 cup parmesan, freshly grated, plus additional for sprinkling
black pepper and salt
4 tbsp. chopped walnuts, toasted

1. Roast the squash at 450 degrees for half an hour. Finely chop squash pieces in a food processor.
2. Cook squash, onion and garlic in oil in a large nonstick skillet over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden.
3. Simmer covered, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until squash is tender. Add sage and simmer one minute more.
4. Cook pasta in a 6-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve 1 cup cooking liquid and drain pasta.
5. Return pasta to pot and add squash mixture, parsley, 1 cup parmesan and plenty of freshly ground black pepper, stirring until well mixed. Season with salt and add some of reserved pasta cooking liquid to moisten if necessary.
6. Serve sprinkled with additional parmesan and toasted walnuts.

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