October 11, 2010

Pasta with Butternut Parmesan Sauce

In my effort to eat a wider variety of fruits and vegetables, I have had to expand my cooking repertoire. This recipe was part of that expansion. I'm not sure if I will make it again or not. It tasted good, but was a little different than my usual pasta dish: sweet! I definitely thought the sauteed chicken on the side helped cut the sweetness of the butternut squash sauce. I recently saw a similar recipe that added diced chicken and bacon, which sound excellent.

Pasta with Butternut Parmesan Sauce
from Simply Recipes via Good Life Eats

1 butternut squash weighing about 2 1/2 pounds
8 ounces of penne pasta
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 cup of chopped shallots
1/2 cup of packed, freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of half and half
1/8 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Water or broth as needed to thin the sauce

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 or food processor. Discard the skins.

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.

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 half and half, a tablespoon at a time, slowly stirring it in to incorporate and to avoid lumps. Stir in the Parmesan. Add the nutmeg, sage, salt and pepper. Add water (or broth) to thin to the consistency you want. Take off heat and add the parsley and lemon juice. Cover the pan to keep warm.

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. Serves 4.

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