Thursday, September 9, 2010

Pasta With Butternut Squash & Walnuts

What vegetables do you think of when you think Fall? After months of summer squash, I am ready for their winter counterparts. I'd never cooked much with winter squash until last year. Now I am a big fan. Butternut Squash is so versatile. Besides roasting or preparing a soup, you can make Butternut Squash Risotto and Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato and Pomegrante Soup.

I bought my first winter squash at the Farmer's Market a couple of weeks ago. One of the things I love about these veggies is how long they keep. They are a bit challenging to cut. I've discovered if you microwave them for about 60 seconds, it softens the skin just slightly and they're much easier to cut. Did you know the skin of butternut squash irrates some people's hands? I didn't until I read this recipe. Apparently it can cause a burning or itching sensation. As I was cutting the squash for this recipe, I felt like my hand was starting to burn. I am sure it was all in my head but I dawned the gloves, just in case.

I planted a sage plant for the first time this year but I haven't used much sage. I know I want to to make a pasta with Sage Brown Butter Sauce. Other than that all I can think of is dressing. Do you have a recipe using sage that you love?

As this was roasting in the oven, the house was filled with the most wonderful aromas of garlic, onion and sage. I was tempted to eat the squash right out of the oven instead of saving it for this recipe. The recipe called for pine nuts. Is it just me or have pine nuts gotten even more expensive lately? Walnuts seemed like a perfect substitution. I loved this pasta! It's unique because you pan fry the all of the ingredients together. The butternut squash creates a rich creamy sauce without the addition of any cream.

Pasta Pan-Fried with Butternut Squash, Fried Sage, and Walnuts
Adapted from Serious Eats
feeds 4

1 medium butternut squash
1 small sweet onion, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup fresh sage leaves
1 pound farfalle pasta
3/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
4 ounces high quality Parmesan, shredded or shaved (about a cup total)

Heat the oven to 375°. Cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out the strings and seeds the middle cavity. Flip the squash halves upside down and peel them. (Note: The raw squash rind can irritate your hands. If they start to itch or tingle, wear gloves.) Cut the squash into 1-inch cubes. Toss with the onion, garlic, a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper. Mince about half of the fresh sage leaves and also toss with the squash.

Spread the squash mixture in a thin layer on a large baking sheet and roast for about 40 minutes or until the squash is soft.

Heat salted pasta water to boiling and cook the farfalle until al dente. Drain and set aside. As the squash finishes roasting, heat about two tablespoons of olive oil in a large high-sided sauté pan. The oil is ready when it pops and sputters. (Don't let it start smoking.) Drop in the rest of the sage leaves and fry for about a minute, or until they begin to just shrivel up.

Remove with a slotted spoon and salt lightly. Crush with the back of a spoon.

Add half the pasta to the pan, along with half the roasted squash mixture. Crumble in half the sage. Cook, stirring frequently, for five minutes or until the pasta is heated through and getting crispy on some of the edges. Add the pine nuts and cook for another minute. Stir in half the cheese and serve.

(Repeat the last step with the rest of the ingredients. We split it into two because none of our pans are big enough to accommodate the entire recipe. It's very important that you not crowd the pan too much - you want the pasta to really pan-fry, not just steam up.)

I am linking this to Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum . This is my entry for this week's Presto Pasta Nights.


  1. I think it sounds better to me with the walnuts rather than the pine nuts! Looks delicious!

  2. I just love butternut squash. It's a bit early here, but I can't wait. I have a bunch of recipes with sage that I like. Sage and squash are a good combo like here:

    and here:

    also Jerusalem artichoke with sage butter:

    and sage is always good in soups and with roast chicken!

  3. This looks delicious, Thank you for entering it into Presto Pasta NIghts this week :)

  4. I planted some butternut squash and I haven't seen even one. Maybe it is hiding amongst the other vines, I sure hope so.

    This looks incredible. Every fall I love butternut squash being featured at restaurants and this looks like it comes from a fancy restaurant.

    I took a cooking class in Italy and it was surprising how much sage they used. We made a seasoned salt that I use all the time using sage. I am posting it soon.

    You take 1- 3 lb. box of Kosher salt and put it out on a baking sheet.
    Mince 1 head garlic (whole head)
    Chop 1 C. basil, 1 C. sage, and 1 C. oregano (all fresh) Stir everything into the salt and leave it out for 1-2 days until all the fresh items are dried. Use it for everything. I like to run it through the food processor to grind up the seasonings a little. Try it.

  5. Squash is my favorite vegetable! It just screams fall!! Love pasta too (who doesn't)! Thanks!

  6. Hmmm - this looks so comforting and delicous. Love it.

  7. I am so ready for the flavors of fall too and butternut is among my all-time favorites! Walnuts are a fantastic addition too!

  8. I know this is crazy, but as a kid this kind of squash and liver were the only foods I couldn't stomach! Now, I just love butternut squash with apples in a soup. Most people add lots of brown sugar which I can't have, but this recipe looks really good and even low-carb if I just eat around the pasta. So, I'm a newbie to butternut squash and I'm going to try this, cause it looks really yummy Julie! Thanks.

  9. Squash, walnuts and sage. They just neeeed to be together, don't they? I'm sure that pine nuts would be good with this but I think you made the right call to use walnuts instead. (Pinenuts ARE really expensive!)

    Lovely farfalle!

  10. I am a serious winter squash addict and this looks like just the kind of thing I would want to kick off the fall season! Great dish.


Thanks for commenting on my blog!