Winter is the time to eat loads of butternut squash, and I know I certainly do. One of my favorite things about squash is its versatility, and while I love it roasted, I also love it pureed in soups and sauces. Since I also happen to be a major pasta fanatic, a pasta sauce with butternut squash was a logical choice for a cold and snowy winter treat.
Butternut Squash Sauce for Pasta
(Recipe from Simply Recipes)
1 butternut squash weighing about 2 1/2 pounds
8 ounces of bow-tie pasta
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/3 cup of chopped shallots
1/2 cup of packed, freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Water as needed to thin the sauce
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Cut the butternut squash lengthwise in half* and scoop out the guts and seeds and discard them. Pour 1/4 cup of water into a pyrex or ceramic baking dish and place the butternut squash halves cut side down. Bake for 40 minutes or until a fork easily pierces the squash. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Scoop out the squash flesh from the skins and purée with a blender (work in batches or place in a bowl and use a hand blender). Discard the skins.
2. Fill a pot with water and salt (1 tablespoon of salt for every 2 quarts of water). Set over high heat to bring to a hard boil. Add the pasta and cook at a hard boil, uncovered until al dente.
3. While the pasta is cooking, pour the olive oil into a wide skillet on medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the butternut squash purée and cook for about a minute, mixing it in with the shallots. Add the cream, a tablespoon at a time, slowly stirring it in to incorporate and to avoid lumps. Stir in the Parmesan. Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Add water (or chicken stock) to thin to the consistency you want. Take off heat and add the parsley and lemon juice. Cover the pan to keep warm.
4. Check pasta. When ready (al dente) drain and plate. Pour the sauce over the pasta. Garnish with a little extra parsley and Parmesan. Serve immediately.