The texture of the squash breaks down as it cooks to create a smooth, hearty sauce for the pasta in this one-dish meal. The slightly sweet squash contrasts with the sharp Parmesan cheese. Use the grating attachment of a food processor to shred the squash.
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 1/2 cups water, divided
1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and shredded
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
12 ounces uncooked penne (tube-shaped pasta)
1 cup (4 ounces) finely shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
How to Make It
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until lightly browned. Add pine nuts and sage; remove from heat. Remove from pan, and set aside.
Heat olive oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic to pan, and sauté 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium. Add 1 cup water and squash to pan. Cook for 12 minutes or until water is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Add remaining water, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring occasionally until each portion of water is absorbed before adding the next (about 15 minutes). Stir in sugar, salt, and pepper.
Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Combine pasta and squash mixture in a large bowl. Add reserved 1/2 cup pasta water, butter mixture, and 3/4 cup cheese; toss well. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Serve immediately.
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I really enjoyed this recipe. I added a litle fontina cheese at the end...which I am glad I did. Next time I would make more of the butter/sage/pinenut combo...it made the dish. The labor intensive part of the dish was shredding the squash...so I did twice as much and put the rest in the freezer to use again later. I would also consider adding some pepper flakes to spice it up a bit.
I made this last night and thought it was amazing! Butternut squash is one of my favorite veggies so I'm always looking for new ways to use it. Who would've thought you could make a sauce out of it! The only thing I changed was the pine nuts (didn't have any) so I used chopped walnuts. Loved the sweetness of the squash with the saltiness of the parm. My husband thought it was really different and ate a huge bowl of it! Nice fall dish! I think a small bowl of this would be a great starter for Thanksgiving dinner!
Excellent pasta dish. It tastes great, and doesn't come off as being too heavy. The contrast of squash to cheese is excellent and the little bit of crunch from the pine nuts really adds a level of texture complexity.
Read the reviews that this dish was bland so I made a couple adjustments, and I think this is one of the most amazing pasta dishes! Here's what I did:
-- Double the pignoli nuts (oh and do not. I repeat: do not even think about omitting the butter/pignoli/sage ... it makes the dish)
-- Added about 1/3 c. of dried mixed wild mushrooms chopped when I added the squash to the pan (make sure you reserve whatever broth is left from soaking them)
-- Used reserved mushroom broth and chicken broth instead of water (2.5 c)
Also, this didn't necessarily make the dish, but instead of penne I used mezze rigatoni (half rigatoni), which I found caught the sauce and pignoli nuts perfectly.
Don't miss out on this pasta dish, definitely worthy of a dinner party.