Pasta with Butternut Squash Sauce

I was surprised at how much I liked this pasta drenched in a butternut squash puree. Its orangey color made me think of mac and cheese, and I figured that I’d bite into it and just wish that it was mac and cheese, and not some healthy impostor.  But this had so much flavor, and was so surprisingly creamy, that I didn’t miss the cheese at all. For a cheese lover like me, that’s saying a lot.

I made a few modifications to the original recipe, which came from an old issue of Bon Appetit. First and least importantly, I changed the name. They called it a “squash carbonara,” but as it contains no egg, I think that’s misleading. Secondly, they also used prosciutto, fried up and crisp, with the onions cooked in the prosciutto’s rendered fat. I skipped this step as I was trying to keep the meal a little healthier and a little cheaper (the best imported stuff goes for $26/pound where I am!)  The good news is, it was still delicious.

Pasta with Butternut Squash Sauce, adapted from Bon Appetit
2 lb butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes (about 3 cups)2 cloves garlic, smashed½ a small yellow onion, diced2 cups chicken stock1 tbsp chopped fresh sage leaves2 tbsp olive oil¼ cup grated ParmesanPinch red pepper flakesSalt and pepper1 box pasta (I used rotelle but think this would be great on linguini)

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add squash, onion, garlic, pepper flakes, and season with salt and pepper.  

Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.  Add broth, then bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer until reduced by half, 15-20 minutes. Let cool slightly, then puree in a blender or food processor until smooth.  Reserve skillet.

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, until al dente. Drain, reserving one cup cooking liquid.

Combine pasta and squash puree in reserved skillet and cook over medium heat for two minutes. If it seems dry, add ¼ cup of reserved pasta cooking liquid. Mix in ¼ cup Parmesan.

Serve, with extra Parmesan for topping.

Make Ahead: Squash puree can be cooked up to three days ahead. Let cool, cover, and chill.

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