Author Notes: This was inspired by butternut squash risotto when I had squash, sage and pancetta, but no arborio rice. I added pine nuts because I had them on hand, but toasted walnuts would work beautifully as well. It’s a great quick weeknight meal that is comforting and hearty, yet still reasonably healthy. The leftovers taste great warmed up in the microwave the next day. —mg2157
medium butternut squash
tablespoons olive oil, divided
pound penne or pasta shape of your choice
ounces pancetta, diced
cup fresh sage leaves, minced
cup pine nuts, toasted in dry pan
cup grated Parmesan, plus more to taste
salt and pepper to taste
- Peel and seed squash and cut into 3/4-inch cubes. Cut top off each garlic clove to expose. Place squash and garlic on sheet pan, drizzle all with 2 tablespoons olive oil, and roast for about 35 minutes until garlic and squash are soft and squash is browned.
- Remove pan from oven and transfer about 1/3 of squash to large bowl. Mash squash in bowl with fork and set aside.
- Boil large pot of water, salt liberally, and add pasta. Cook to al dente, then drain (reserving about 1/2 cup pasta water) and add pasta to bowl with mashed butternut squash, stirring to coat noodles.
- In large skillet, heat one tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat until shimmering. Add pancetta and saute until almost crispy, about four minutes. Squeeze roasted garlic cloves into pan, stirring and mashing with wooden spoon to incorporate. Add diced sage and saute together until sage and pancetta are crispy, about two minutes more.
- Add pancetta/sage/garlic mixture to bowl with pasta and mashed squash. Add remaining cubes of squash. Add grated Parmesan and stir to combine. Add a bit of reserved pasta water if mixture is too thick. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve, topping each plate with toasted pine nuts and passing additional Parmesan.