Originally I made this pasta dish because I had leftover squash from the butternut squash spice cake. In the future I will buy a butternut squash with it’s sole purpose being the foundation of this meal. I was expecting something tasty, and I was not disappointed. How can one go wrong with a pasta dish where bacon and sage are involved? You can’t.
I found so many variations on butternut squash sauce for pastas. At first I started to get an anxiety attack. What is the BEST way? Please! Someone! Just give me the all time best recipe so that I will stop wasting my time browsing recipe after recipe finding something about the ingredient list or preparation in each recipe to be lacking! Then an ingenious idea came to me. Would it be so wrong for me to take the things I liked best about all the recipes and make…my own recipe? I keep getting braver and braver, people! One of these days I will use nothing but pure instinct in the kitchen…someday.
I referenced many recipes to arrive at the final product. I wanted a recipe that met the following criteria:
- Roasted, not steamed or sautéed, butternut squash
- Pureed or slightly chunky sauce, not big hunks of squash
- Sage. Glorious, warm, fuzzy, sage.
- Bacon or Pancetta (meat is murder…tasty, tasty, murder)
- A light sauce, not laden with heavy cream
- Penne, or some other non-slinky pasta
With these specific preferences, I had no choice but to combine about 6 recipes that met the requirements. The resulting meal was creamy, light, the perfect combination of sweet and salty, warm and inviting.
This is a lovely fall meal. I highly recommend it.
Butternut Squash Pasta with Bacon and Sage
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
- 1/2 pound bacon
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 large onion, chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 pound penne pasta
- 2 tablespoons sage, roughly chopped + 8-10 whole sage leaves
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Spread squash and smashed garlic cloves onto a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt. Roast for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Pulse squash in a food processor or mash with a spoon, set aside.
- Cook pasta to al dente according to package instructions. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water, and set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Cook bacon until just crisp, then remove from pan to paper towels to drain. Chop into medium chunks after it is cool.
- Add onion to the bacon grease and cook until translucent, 6-8 minutes.
- Add squash, chicken broth, half and half and sage to the onion.
- Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low, then add pasta and bacon to the onion mixture and stir to combine.
- If the pasta seems too thick, add some pasta water to thin the sauce.
- Sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmesan, cover, and let heat through for 3-5 minutes.
- Stir pasta and serve in pasta bowls with Parmesan and sage leaves.