Nothing says fall more than squash, especially butternut squash. Butternut squash is slightly sweet and can be used in a number of dishes from sweet to savory. I am sure you are familiar with probably the most popular butternut squash dish – butternut squash soup, but these dish takes the humble squash to a whole new level. For this dish, I wanted to make something reminiscent of a carbonara – sorry for anyone that is Italian as I know this is probably a huge no-no in classic Italian food. But I wanted to do something unique and different and I have never seen a butternut squash ‘carbonara’ – although I don’t think it can technically be called that which is why I have just left the name at pasta. A classic carbonara is made with pancetta, eggs, and parmesan or pecorino (freshly grated). This has all of those ingredients with the exception of the egg – I have swapped the egg for pureed butternut squash and added milk to thin out the squash. The textures and flavor though are fairly similar, except here you have a slightly sweet, richer flavor from the squash. It turned out incredible, even though I know I will probably get some shade from Italy…I am okay with that. Additionally, by roasting the squash first it gives it a delicious nutty, deep flavor as the outside gets slightly charred and caramelized which really helps bring out all the flavors. Seriously, this is so delicious and pretty fool proof. One of the trickiest steps in authentic carbonara is making sure you don’t scramble the eggs by overcooking or heating. This dish eliminates that potential margin or error and leaves you with the most incredible tasting pasta!
- 1 1/2 Cup Butternut Squash, Cubed
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Tbsp Minced Garlic
- 1 Tbsp Thyme
- 4oz Pancetta
- 1 Cup Shredded Parmesan, Freshly Grated
- 3/4 Cup Milk
- 1/2 Lb Spaghetti
- 1/4 – 1/2 Cup Reserved Pasta Water
- Salt + Pepper
- Serves: 3-4
- Prep Time: 40 Minutes
- Cook Time: 20 Minutes
- Total Time: 60 Minutes
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large mixing bowl add the squash, olive oil, minced garlic, thyme and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine well and transfer to a baking sheet.
- Place the squash in the oven and roast for 40-45 minutes until soft and slightly caramelized on the outside.
- When the squash has about 10 minutes left, bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add the pasta and cook until al dente. *When the pasta is done cooking, reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water (you won’t need all of it, but better to save more than less).
- Remove the squash from the oven and transfer to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and set aside.
- Next, heat a large pan over medium to high heat and add in the pancetta. Cook for 8-10 minutes until the pancetta crisps up. Reduce the heat to low and transfer the pancetta to a bowl. *don’t remove any excess oil from the pancetta.
- Next, add in the pureed butternut squash and milk and whisk to combine. Once combined, add in the parmesan and mix well.
- Once the parmesan is well incorporated, add the pasta and pancetta in to the sauce. Toss the noodles to coat evenly and slowly add 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water to thin out the sauce.
- Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking. Additionally, if you want a thinner sauce, add in more pasta water – I recommend only adding 1/8 cup at a time until it reaches your desired consistency.
- Divide between bowls and top with freshly cracked pepper and more parmesan!
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