Sadly, I still don’t think my sister will try this recipe.
The main ingredient is One of my faves, butternut squash. It falls in her least favorite foods, orange vegetables.
A few years ago, I saved a Bon Appétit recipe for a butternut squash pasta. I hadn’t tried it because it called for half of a butternut squash (seriously…what do you do with the other half).
When we went to pick up our Christmas tree from our corner farm market they were giving away a new butternut squash variety they had planted; it harvested late so they had extras for free. I grabbed a couple and kept them in the garage, each a perfect half squash.
I started with the squash, peeling and then shredding with my food processor.
And then I diced my pancetta.
And sliced the sage.
That is all of the prep work before starting the water for the pasta.
This includes a few modifications to the original recipe: pancetta (as mentioned, bacon makes EVERYTHING better), the length for browning the butternut squash, and freshly ground pepper (which I should have added to the squash during cooking instead of just at the end).
While the water took its time coming to a boil, I cooked my pancetta.
Once it was crispy I set it aside to drain on paper towels and added butter to the pan. I also used this opportunity to add the pasta to my now boiling water.
I cooked the squash and sage similar to how I cook hash browns, stirring occasionally and allowing the bottom to brown between stirring.
When the pasta was done I added it to the squash with pasta water (ultimately about 1½ cups), the pancetta, and Parmesan.
Meanwhile, my husband washed some lettuce for a salad and used a loaf of roasted garlic bread to make a nice accompaniment.
And while eating was really the best part, I was very excited to use the new pasta dishes that I received from my MIL for Christmas.
Ultimately an easy weekday meal.
Pasta with Butternut Squash
Entrées, Pastas, Pork, Tested and Approved!
Makes 6 servings ∙ Source Bon Appétit | February 2013
- ½ lb. pancetta, diced
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ~5 cups shredded butternut squash (from about 1½-2 lbs. peeled squash; shredded with the coarse grating attachment on a food processor or on a box grater)
- ¼ cup thinly sliced fresh sage
- pepper, freshly ground
- 1 pound fiorentini, campanelle, or other short curled pasta
- ½ cup finely grated Parmesan or Grana Padano plus more
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
While it comes to a boild, cook pancetta in large skillet over medium-high heat. When crispy, set aside with a slotted spoon in a dish lined with paper towels.
When the water comes to a boil, add the pasta and cook as directed for al dente.
Melt the butter in the oil and increse the heat to high. Add squash and sage, season with pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until squash begins to brown, about 8-10 minutes, then reduce heat to medium.
Drain pasta, reserving 2 cups pasta cooking liquid.
Add pasta and ½ cup pasta cooking liquid to squash and stir to coat. Cook over medium heat, stirring, adding more cooking liquid as needed, until sauce coats pasta. Stir in ½ cup Parmesan.
Divide pasta among bowls; top with more Parmesan.
I can’t say enough about making pasta and pasta sauces; yum is really the best word. If you don’t have time to make pasta, please buy good pasta, for the few dollars more it is the difference between a good meal and an amazing meal.
On Sunday it was all about the sauce, I wasn’t even going to post since I didn’t use a recipe. My mom and a good friend asked so here we go, enjoy!
At the end, I remove about half of the sauce from the pot, then add the pasta and mixed until well coated, then I put the pasta in the serving bowl and topped with as much remaining sauce as desired and shredded Parmesan. For the pasta below, I cooked ~1 lb. of pappardelle and had 1 quart of sauce to freeze.
Entrées, Italian, Pastas, Sauces and Marinades
Prep 30 mins ∙ Cook 2 hrs ∙ Makes Sauce for 1½ -2 lbs. pasta ∙ Difficulty Easy
- ½ cup porcini mushrooms, dried
- ½ cup water, hot
- 1½-2 onions, sweet (can use some red)
- 2 ribs celery
- 2 carrots, peeled
- 1 tsp. thyme, fresh
- 3-4 tbsp. Italian parsley, fresh
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2-3 tbsp. olive oil
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 4 oz pancetta
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 lb ground pork
- 3-4 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 28 oz. tomatoes, crushed or petite diced
- ~¼ cup heavy cream
- sea salt (to taste)
- freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
Soak the porcini mushrooms in the hot water for 30 minutes.
While they soak, finely chop the onions, celery, carrots, parsley, and thyme (for ease use a food processor).
When the mushrooms are done soaking, strain through fine strainer lined with cheesecloth into a cup to remove the silt and reserve the soaking water. Rinse the mushrooms with cold water and coarsely chop.
Preheat a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Once hot, melt the butter with the oil, then add the vegetables and garlic; cook until translucent, paying attention so that the onions do not brown, about 10 minutes.
Finely chop the pancetta (or, ideally, cut it into quarters and then pulse it in a food processor until ground). Once the vegetables are translucent, add all of the meat and increase the heat to high. Let the meat just brown, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes.
When brown, add the tomato paste, red wine, mushrooms, and mushroom water. Stir to combine then cook until the alcohol is mostly cooked out. Add the tomatoes, heavy cream, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 1 to 1½ hours, stirring occasionally, to prevent it from sticking or scorching until very thick.
I have talked before about making pasta sauce, using fresh tomatoes is one of my favorites. On Labor Day after an enjoyable weekend with friends at their cottage, I did my shopping. It was very nice to sit in the sun by the water and make my list. By the time I got home it was close to 4 and then 5 to get back from the grocery. Thankfully pasta is quick.
One of the items I picked up was a pound of pancetta which I had sliced thick and diced when I got home.
I also had several tomatoes, some from the farmers market and some from my neighbor.
I started my pasta water boiling and used it to blanch my tomatoes so that they would be easy to peel.
While they cooled, I prepped my other ingredients.
I started by browning the pancetta, until nice and crispy.
While it browned I chopped my onion and Kalamata olives, and I peeled my tomatoes (making sure to stir the pancetta occasionally.)
When the pancetta was done I set it aside on paper towels to drain and proceeded to slowly cook the onion.
Meanwhile I opened my can of tomato paste, peeled my garlic, and coarsely chopped the peeled tomatoes.
When the onions were done I added the garlic and the pepper flakes.
Once they were fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes, I added the tomato paste and the chopped olives to the pan.
When the tomato paste began to darken I added the red wine vinegar and the chopped tomatoes, and then brought them to a boil. And then reduced it to a simmer and covered it up so that the tomatoes would fall apart.
Part of my inspiration was the basil I keep in my flower bed which is growing out of hand. I cut several sprigs so that I would have one cup of chopped leaves.
I also got out my remaining ingredients, and boiled my pasta.
In the meantime my sauce had thickened.
I added the pasta, Parmesan, pancetta, and basil to the sauce and stirred.
With a little extra cheese on top and fresh bread with butter, dinner was served.
Fusilli with Fresh Tomato and Olive Sauce
Beef and Lamb, Entrées, Pastas, Tested and Approved!
Prep 15 mins ∙ Cook 45 mins ∙ Makes 6 ∙ Source Bon Appétit | August 1999
- 1½-2 pounds plum tomatoes (about 8 large), peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 lb. pancetta or small meatballs (optional)
- 2 T. cup olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- ⅓ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 cup Kalamata olives or other brine-cured black olives, pitted, chopped
- 6 oz. tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 pound fusilli
- 1½ cups Parmesan cheese, coarsely grated (about 4 ounces)
- 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
In a large pot (suitable for the pasta) bring about 6 quarts of water to a boil. Cut a very shallow “X” (try to just cut the skin) in each tomato and then immerse in the boiling water for ~1 minute. Remove from the water with a sloted spoon and allow to cool until safe to touch. Peel the tomatoes, coarsely chop, and set aside. .
Heat olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. (If using meatballs or pancetta, brown, remove from pan with a slotted spoon, and set aside to drain; remove excess oil.)
Add onion and heat until translucent, about 10 minutes. Then add garlic and crushed red pepper and sauté until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Stir in olives and tomato paste then continue cooking for a few minutes longer. Add tomatoes and vinegar, season to taste with ground pepper, then simmer unil tomatoes have fallen apart, at least 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package instructions.
Stir the cooked pasta into the sauce toss with 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese, (meatballs or pancetta if using), and fresh basil then toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper (NO salt with pancetta). Serve with remaining Parmesan cheese.
Stirring in the basil at the end keeps it fresh and green in your dish.