October 13, 2010

Roasted butternut squash and cream pasta sauce

It's already week 4 of Fall Fest. This week is celebrating pumpkin and winter squash. Winter squash are one of my favorite things. I've been buying them left and right at the farmer's market in every size, shape, and color I find. Butternut squash remains one of my all-time favorite winter squash. I decided to try out a pasta sauce utilizing roasted butternut squash. I roasted the squash the night before so that I could save that time when I made the sauce the next evening for dinner. I added some sliced garlic chicken sausage to the pasta because I wanted to make it a bit heartier and also because it helped to add a savory and salty component to the sauce, which is sweet. This recipe will feed 4 to 6 people.

Roasted butternut squash and cream pasta sauce
1 small-medium butternut squash, seeded
1 shallot, peeled and halved
1 garlic clove in the skin
1-2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 teaspoon sugar
sea salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
extra virgin olive oil
1/2-1 cup half and half (or whole milk or cream)
Parmesan cheese
fresh sage leaves, minced

about 12 ounces pasta of your choice, cooked to al dente

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the butternut squash in half and scrape out the seeds and strings. Drizzle a baking sheet with olive oil. Place the squash face down on the baking sheet and roast until soft/fork tender. Shortly before the squash is finished, add the shallot and garlic to the pan and roast until soft.

Let the vegetables cool. Scrape the flesh from the squash and add it to the food processor along with the shallot and garlic. Add salt, pepper, sugar, and about 1 cup of chicken stock. Turn the food processor on to the cream setting and blend until smooth. Add more chicken stock, if needed.

In a large pan, heat some olive oil and add the red pepper flakes. Sautee until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Pour the butternut squash mixture into the pan and stir. Add the half and half and continue to cook over medium heat until hot, stirring occasionally. Grate in about 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. When the sauce is hot, stir in the cooked pasta. If you are using sausage, stir in slices of browned sausage at this point, or serve on the side. Add more stock or cream (or some pasta water) if the sauce is too thick.

Serve hot topped with fresh sage and more Parmesan cheese.

Looking for some other pumpkin and winter squash recipes as you celebrate fall? How about butternut squash muffins, Thai sweet pumpkin, butternut squash Moroccan stew, pumpkin custard, or Southwest pumpkin soup?

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