i love when recipes i encounter come at a time when all the same ingredients happen to already be in my kitchen. for this pasta dish – the only thing i had to pick up was the pasta. and of course, i had to add some good bacony salty goodness in there to compliment the sweet squash. this was great for a dinner and even better for lunch the next couple of days. i revived it with a tiny drizzle of olive oil when reheating.
PASTA with BUTTERNUT SQUASH, BACON, SAGE & PINE NUTS
(adapted, ever so slightly, from here)
6 strips bacon, cooked, blotted and chopped
1 medium butternut squash
1 small sweet onion, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup fresh sage leaves
1 pound whole wheat pasta (I used shells)
3/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
4 ounces high quality Parmesan, shredded or shaved (about a cup total)
Heat the oven to 375°. Cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out the strings and seeds the middle cavity. Flip the squash halves upside down and peel them. Cut the squash into 1-inch cubes. Toss with the onion, garlic, a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper. Mince about half of the fresh sage leaves and also toss with the squash (I forgot to mince half the sage and didn’t realize I didn’t until 10 minutes into the roasting – I just threw them in them and it didn’t seem to be a problem – you know, in case you also forget)
Spread the squash mixture in a thin layer on a large baking sheet and roast for about 40 minutes or until the squash is soft.
Heat salted pasta water to boiling and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.
While pasta is cooking and squash is roasting, fry up the bacon. Place strips on paper towels to blot and once cooled, chop into bits.
As the squash finishes roasting, heat about two tablespoons of olive oil in a large high-sided sauté pan. The oil is ready when it pops and sputters. (Don’t let it start smoking.) Drop in the rest of the sage leaves and fry for about a minute, or until they begin to just shrivel up.
Remove with a slotted spoon and salt lightly. Crush with the back of a spoon.
Add half the pasta to the pan, along with half the roasted squash mixture and half the crumbled bacon. Crumble in half the sage. Cook, stirring frequently, for five minutes or until the pasta is heated through and getting crispy on some of the edges. Add the pine nuts and cook for another minute. Stir in half the cheese and serve.
*recipe note: the original maker split the cooking of the ingredients in half because you really want the pasta to get pan fried – it makes for a great flavor and yummy slight crunchy texture – don’t crowd the pan!