Let me start off this post by saying... this is the best BEST pasta I have ever made. Yes, I'm totally going to toot my own horn because it was that good. No, seriously.
I came across this recipe a while ago and knew I had to make it (with a couple of my own modifications). Pasta, butternut squash and pinenuts all in one bowl? I couldn't think of anything better. Despite the longish prep and cooking time (a little over an hour) it is well worth it and is just as delicious leftover the next day. Doubling the recipe would also make for a very impressive main dish for a dinner party. The garlic and sage roasted butternut squash bring to life all the flavors of this amazing dish.
Pasta aside, let's talk weather. It is finally starting to feel like fall in California. We were given the gift of rain earlier in the week and temperatures are 20 degrees lower this week than they were last week. I know, I have no idea what mother nature is thinking either. As if I wasn't already totally into fall cooking, now I just want to cook all day, every day. And, confession, I may have forgotten I already had two huge butternut squash in the pantry, and bought two more. That makes four. So, aside from jerk chicken tacos (at the husbands request) for dinner and a little birthday bash for the kiddo with family this weekend, I will also be using up the four beautiful butternut squash sitting in my kitchen.
Despite this amazing Autumn pasta, my mind is somewhere else. Two years ago today, at this time, I admitted myself into the hospital and was started on pitocin (I am writing this on nov 3rd, the day before Octavian was born). Laboring for nearly 36 hours, a broken bag of waters and still only .5 cm diliated, Octavian and I needed some help getting things moving. Eight hours later he was born.
I thank my lucky stars every day that he is mine.
Pasta with Butternut Squash, Sage and Pinenuts
Approximate cook time: 1 hour
1 medium to large butternut squash
1 onion, peeled and diced into small pieces
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup fresh sage leaves
1/2 cup toasted pinenuts
rigatoni (approx. 12-16 oz)
freshly grated Parmesan
For the butternut squash
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Peel, cut and seed your butternut squash into approximately 1-inch cubes. Mince half of your fresh sage leaves and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss the cubed butternut squash with your onion, garlic, olive oil (approx. 1 Tbsp), salt and pepper. Add the chopped sage leaves and toss again.
- Spread the mixture evenly over a large baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees F for approximately 50 minutes, or until squash is soft and browning at the edges. Rotate pan half way through.
For the Pasta
- Halfway through roasting the butternut squash make the pasta according to package instructions (I cooked mine until al dente, otherwise the noodles will fall apart). Once ready, drain, rinse with warm water and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat a couple Tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot, fry your sage leaves. Lay them in the oil one at a time and heat them until they are crisp- approx. 1-2 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon and crumble them into little pieces.
- Once the squash is ready, pour the noodles and roasted butternut squash mixture into your large skillet and heat for a few minutes. Gently toss in your crumbled sage and pinenuts. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan and fresh pepper.