It’s been a while since I posted a recipe on this blog. In all honesty, it’s because I have not been doing a lot of cooking lately. At least not cooking anything that has been creative enough to deem worthy of posting a recipe for.
I tend to go through cooking phases. Sometimes I feel like cooking a lot, others I don’t. Although I’m technically still cooking during an off-phase, it’s usually being done more out of necessity than joy. And that’s just the way it is sometime—for me at least.
I have found that sometime fall makes me want to cook a bit more—probably because it gets dark early so I feel cooped up and want to hibernate. We’ve had a really late fall in California this year and it’s continued to stay warm. It may be snowing all over the rest of the country, but I’m sitting here with the back door of my house wide open and I’m wearing short sleeves and it’s almost the end of November.
All of this is just to say that I had some inspiration hit me yesterday, and I made up something worth trying. I had gone to pick up some yummy fresh pasta from John Pauley of Mattarello and one of the things I got was his pappardelle with fresh sage.
I freakin’ love pappardelle, first of all – it’s hands down my favorite pasta. I just really like the texture, width and thinness of those long ribbons. Whenever I see pappardelle on a menu, I’m pretty much sold unless it has a sauce I’m not interested in getting (which isn’t very often).
When I asked John what kind of sauce would go good with the sage pappardelle, he mentioned it would go well with any sort of roasted meat—chicken, rabbit, pork, etc. I’m not usually down with the bunny, but chicken would have worked. Then he mentioned that another customer was planning to use it with roasted butternut squash. Sold!
I’d seen some very expensive jarred butternut squash pasta sauce at the store and had been curious, but not curious enough to shell out more than $7 for something I could probably do a better job at, so squash sauce has been in the back of my head for a while. I just hadn’t bit the proverbial bullet and bought any squash this season yet. Inspired by the sage pappardelle, I went to get some.
Here’s what I came up with:
Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce
½ butternut squash, cut in ½-in. cubes
½ onion, thinly sliced
½ c. chicken or veggie broth
⅛-¼ c. whole milk or cream
Reserved pasta water
2-3 tbsp. parmesan cheese
1-2- tbsp. fresh sage, chiffonade
- Toss squash cubes in 1-2 tbsp. of olive oil with salt and pepper. Then roast squash in 400°F oven on baking pan until caramelized and soft – about 20-30 minutes.
- In the meantime, caramelize until soft and brown onion in 1-2 tbsp. olive oil in sauté pan over low to medium heat.
- When squash is roasted, take out of oven and add ¾ of it to the sauté pan with the onion. (Leave ¼ of it out if you’d like to have a few squash chunks in your sauce – if you want the sauce to be completely smooth, add all of the squash to the pan with the onion.)
- Boil pasta and drain when ready.
- Add broth to squash and onions. Simmer until squash begins to get even softer and can be squished with your spoon. Break down as much squash with a spoon as possible as it softens.
- Put squash mixture in a blender and puree. You may want to add some additional water or broth to thin it out.
- Add pureed squash back to sauté pan and turn heat back on low. Add milk/cream and stir into sauce. Add sage and parmesan.
- Thin sauce with pasta water – a couple tablespoons at a time until desired consistency. Toss with pasta, top with more cheese and toasted walnuts, serve.
- Use canned squash instead. Canned pumpkin would also work.
- Add a pinch of nutmeg.
- Substitute some apple cider or apple juice for some of the water to make sauce a bit sweeter.
- Instead of walnuts, top with toasted hazelnuts or pine nuts.
All recipes and photos copyright of Foie Gras and Funnel Cakes unless otherwise noted.