Roasted Butternut & Bacon Pasta
‘Tis the season once again to make the transition from the yellow and zucchini squash of summer….to the rich, sweet squash of fall. Of course, my favorite of those is the beautiful butternut. They were in abundance this week at our market (see the photo below!), so I happily brought a few home. They look so cute sitting on the counter…and even more delicious cooked up!
Some of you may remember me posting (and raving) about my take on Whole Food’s “butternut crab bisque” last season. But instead of beginning the season with another soup, decided that my first butternut recipe this season would a recipe I had bookmarked to try — “roasted butternut and bacon pasta”. I mean, really, with a title like that — who can resist? Throw in some sage, pine nuts, fresh parmesan, and a little extra butter, and OH MY WORD.
The sweet+salty+smoky flavors come together beautifully. And aside from the bacon (see the tip below for subbing in turkey bacon), it’s pretty healthy! AND…I must point out that the gorgeous warm colors make this a perfect autumn meal. Definitely a delightful way to begin butternut season!
Roasted Butternut & Bacon Pasta
- 1 butternut squash, about 1½ lb (750 g), halved, seeded, peeled, and cut into bite-sized cubes
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- ½ lb (250 g) orecchiette, penne, or fusilli
- 5 slices thick-cut apple wood-smoked bacon, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
- ¼ cup (1½ oz/45 g) pine nuts, lightly toasted
- ½ cup (2 oz/60 g) grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). On a rimmed baking sheet, toss together the squash, onion, and oil, then spread it in a single layer. Cut 1 tablespoon of the butter into bits and dot the squash evenly. Season with salt and pepper. Roast, rotating the pan front to back about halfway through cooking, until the squash and onion are golden and tender, about 45 minutes.
Bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil, add the pasta, and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) of the cooking water. Cover the pasta to keep it hot. While the pasta is cooking, heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and sauté until most of its fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp on the edges but still chewy at the center, about 4-5 minutes. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat and return the pan to medium-high heat. Add the sage and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in the pine nuts.
Add the hot pasta, the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and ¼ cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) of the hot pasta water and stir to combine. If the pasta seems dry, stir in a little more pasta water. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a warmed serving dish and sprinkle the cheese over the top. Serve right away.
If you’d like to substitute in turkey bacon in place of regular, go for it! You may just need to add in an extra tablespoon of butter for sauteing the sage and veggies.