Ok, so clearly we’re really into fall foods. We just can’t stop buying butternut squash. One Monday night when we had a butternut squash lying around waiting to be eaten, I saw this recipe on the kitchn and thought, perfect! A quick Monday night dinner and we have all the ingredients! The problem was that I was only right on the latter. You see, once you have to roast something, your time is just going to go up and we just didn’t factor that into our timing. So it ended up being a late night dinner, but it was totally worth it for this delicious autumnal pasta.
One of the things that really made this dish shine was the truffle salt that we put on just before serving. Now, this is totally optional, but trust me, it’s totally, totally worth the money. This last Valentine’s Day I got Joseph Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home and a jar of truffle salt from Williams Sonoma. Now, this may be a teeny, tiny far of salt that costs nearly 30, yes 30, dollars. But trust me!!! It’s so worth every penny! We use it all the time and yet you can barely tell that we’ve made a dent in it even though we’ve been using it since mid-February! If you don’t believe me, just check out all 30 reviews with the average of 5 stars. If you’ve never had the extreme pleasure of getting to try truffles, do yourself a favor and get this salt. If you have had truffles and you know how extraordinary the flavor is, I shouldn’t even have to tell you to get this salt. It imparts a lovely, earthy truffle flavor to everything you add it to from scrambled eggs to your pizza to your pasta with butternut squash, sage, and pine nuts. Put the salt on your Christmas/Hanuka/Kwanzaa/Winter Solstice/Whatever list and you’ll thank me the second you open the jar and get a whiff of what lies inside.
Pasta Pan-Fried with Butternut Squash, Fried Sage, and Pine Nuts
Adapted from the kitchn
1 medium butternut squash
1 small sweet onion, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup fresh sage leaves
1 pound whole wheat pasta
3/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
4 ounces high quality Parmesan, shredded or shaved (about a cup total)
truffle salt (optional)
Heat the oven to 375°. Cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out the strings and seeds and peel them. Cut the squash into 1-inch cubes. Toss with the onion, garlic, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. Mince about half of the fresh sage leaves and also toss with the squash.
Spread the squash mixture in a single layer on a large baking sheet and roast for about 40 minutes or until the squash is soft (we had to use two baking sheets actually to fit everything in a single layer).
Cook the pasta 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. Fry the sage leaves and 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. Tear it into smaller pieces.
Unless you have an enormous pan, you’ll have to do this next step in two stages because you want everything to be spread out enough to pan-fry the food, not just steam it. Add half the pasta to the pan, along with half the roasted squash mixture. Add half the sage and 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. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients, sprinkle each plate with truffle salt, swoon, and serve.