How to: Seasonal Cooking – Brown Butter Acorn Squash Pasta

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Dara and I were clearly on the same page this week.  Now that fall is officially upon us, we’re heavy in to the comfort foods and pasta sits at the very top of our faves list.

In addition to Dara’s recipe for a super simple and quick mac & cheese, I’ve got this doozy for you.  It’s sort of a simple mac and cheese, too. Made extra creamy by the addition of…squash!

And get this, it takes a measly 5 ingredients to get it on the table.

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I used an acorn squash in this recipe because well, I had one.  Switch it up with butternut, buttercup or hubbard. Each will give you a slightly different flave. If butternut squash is your reference here, acorn is less sweet.

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The flesh breaks downs really easily.  I used a hand blender to smooth it out, but you could also use a big whisk.

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Because this is such a simple recipe, the quality of the ingredients really matter.  Use fresh sage and the real deal parmesan, OK?  Grana padano would work well too.

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If it’s your first time browning butter, I’m SO excited for you.  It’s a simple technique that adds a delicious toasted caramelly (how is that not a word?) flavour to sweet or savoury dishes.

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Reserving the pasta water is a must here. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again.  I always reserve some pasta water.  Even if you don’t need it for your sauce, I make sure to add  a tablespoon or so per cup to any leftovers I keep.  Don’t mix it in though.  When you reheat your pasta, stir it halfway through and the remaining pasta water will make your sauce saucy again, without thinning it out too much. Otherwise, leftover pasta will absorb the water from the sauce leaving you with dry noodles.

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Drain your pasta and use the same pot to mix the whole deal together. Fewer dishes = happy cleaner upper (AKA husband).  Add pasta water ¼ cup at a time until you get a perfect creamy coating.

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Do not skimp on the sage, either.  It’s dynamite.

Erin

Brown Butter Acorn Squash Pasta with Crispy Fried Sage

Serves 4-5
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 50 minutes
Total time 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8-10 sage leaves (finely sliced)
  • 300g pasta of choice
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese (packed)
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Note

Make this a 20 minute meal by microwaving the squash rather than roasting. Follow the same preparation and microwave for 10-12 minutes or until very soft.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Cut acorn squash in half and remove seeds. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or use glass bakeware to roast squash, cut side down, for 40 mins until very soft and easily pierced with a knife. Cool slightly, remove and transfer flesh into a bowl and process with a hand blender or whisk until smooth.
2. While squash is roasting, heat butter over medium heat. Once it starts to foam, reduce heat to medium-low and swirl the pan constantly until butter solids begin to lightly brown. Once butter is a light caramel colour, add sage leaves and continue to swirl while they sizzle for about 30 seconds. Remove sage with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel to drain and crisp up. Add remaining browed butter to pureed squash. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Cook pasta per package directions, ensuring the water is salted. Before draining water, reserve 1½ cups of the starchy pasta water.
4. Return drained pasta to pot. Add squash, parmesan cheese and a ½ cup of pasta water. Stir until well combined. Add more pasta water to thin sauce out and coat pasta as needed (you may not use it all). Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
5. Serve immediately and top with crispy fried sage.