It’s fall and not only has the Charlie Brown Great Pumpkin arrived, but so have all the gourds!
There are many types but the good news is they are all delicious (opinion) and are often quite interchangeable. Unless you’re making spaghetti squash. Then you need spaghetti squash. Also, spaghetti squash is super delicious with marinara and parmesan cheese. I’m hungry now!
In fact today’s recipe is, in a way, spaghetti squash. The principal difference is that instead of the noodles being spaghetti squash the actual spaghetti is covered in a wonderfully flavored, creamy, cheesy, butternut squash sauce! With sage, apple, onion, celery, and basically all of the best autumn flavors in one. Even just the first step of this dish, sautéeing onions in butter, made me so happy and nostalgic. Why? Because onions cooking in butter reminds me of my mom’s stuffing recipe. And it’s the best, obviously.
Making this pasta is quite simple, cooking some veggies on the stove and then blending them at the end. Finish some spaghetti in the sauce, sprinkle with Pecorino Romano cheese and you’ve got yourself a delectably seasonal meal!
I love it so much. In fact, it made quite a bit of sauce so I was able to stick some in the fridge AND freezer! The quantity of sauce may vary slightly depending on how thick or thin you like your sauce and how exact you are with vegetable ingredients.
Recipe adapted from Jake Cohen at the feedfeed
Butternut Squash and Sage Pasta
Serves 4-6 with leftover sauce for another meal
4 Tbsp / 56g butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 pounds / 675g peeled and chopped butternut squash
2-3 stalks celery, chopped
1 apple, chopped
generous Tbsp of chopped fresh sage
3/4 cup / 178g milk
1 lb / 500g package spaghetti
1/2 cup / 50g shredded parmigiano reggiano
1/2 cup / 50g shredded fontal or other good melting cheese
1/2 cup / 50g shredded pecorino romano, plus more for finishing
salt and pepper to taste
In a large pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions, stirring occasionally, until mostly translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add squash, celery, apple, and sage; continue to cook until things start to caramelize, about 5 minutes.
Add milk. Stir and cover, allowing to cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Note: The milk may look a bit curdled, which is fine since everything will be blended in the end.
While the vegetables are simmering, place a large pot of water over high heat. Just before boiling, salt the water. When the water is boiling and salt has dissolved, add pasta and cook according to package directions.
When the vegetables are tender, either blend with an immersion blender or transfer to a blender. Blend until smooth. Stir in the three cheeses and salt and pepper to taste.
When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain, reserving 1 cup / 237g of pasta water. Return pasta to pan and toss in desired quantity of sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add reserved pasta water until desired consistency is reached.
Serve with a generous dusting of pecorino romano.
This recipe makes a generous amount of sauce, so you can choose to refrigerate the leftovers (will probably be enough for another 4-6 servings) for a few days or stick it in the freezer for a future quick dinner!
Feel free to use other kinds of squash or even pumpkin! The other night when I made this the store had run out of Butternut so I selected another Tuscan variety and it was lovely! Just keep in mind that the different squashes may have different starch levels and may affect how thick or thin the sauce will end up, which you can adjust by adding the pasta water at the end.
Play with the cheeses you use! Parmigiano reggiano, or parmesan, is a wonderfully nutty, aged cheese that you probably already have because it is amazing on almost everything. Fontal is an inexpensive but wonderful melting cheese which I generally have on hand, but you could also use gruyere, gouda, fontina, cheddar, etc. The one I recommend you splurge on would be the Pecorino Romano, which is an aged sheep’s milk cheese. There are many different varieties, those aged in walnut leaves or with truffles, young or aged, easily identified by the word “pecorino” usually followed by it’s defining factor. Pecorino Romano is one of the most exported cheeses from Italy and is aged a minimum of 5 months, giving it a wonderful sharp flavor that pairs so well with our velvety, squashy pasta today.