I am much more a cold weather person than a warm weather person.
That is to say, I love a nip in the air, the scent of woodsmoke coming through the chimneys and all the great root veggies, colorful gourds and squash that make an appearance in the markets.
Once the daylight savings time switches over like it did on Nov 2nd, I'm all about the squash and butternut squash is my favorite. It's sweet, mild and just plain delicious. You can make the creamiest soups with them, I love them with shrimp and of course they come alive roasted. Not to mention it takes all of 20 minutes in the oven.
So where you have butternut squash, how can you not have sage and Parmigiano Reggiano? I am completely in sync with the Italians when they worked out that combo.
But let me tell you, Sicilians love toasted breadcrumbs - they'll roll them up when they do their beccafico with sardines and line just about every pan with heaps of it.
Turns out, freshly roasted on a pan, they're genius added to this simple pasta. One thing I've learned from cooking with my Sicilian friends, is no way can I ever compete with them when it comes to their liberal use of olive oil. Not in a million years can I ever come close to the cups of the good stuff they use on a daily basis.
Needless to say and much to their chagrin, I continue to measure out my olive oil except for the final lashing at the end.
What can I say? I do my best - my said friends looks all of a 100 lbs, wet! I, on the other hand continue to look like an overstuffed sausage walking around.
Hence, the measuring because I don't think I can sleep at night with the voice of Natalie my trainer in my head asking me to watch my 'macronutrients'!
Sigh! Some people have fairy godmothers and others end up with 'guilt' godmothers.
So I know I've gone all around the mulberry bush but the point I'm trying to make is, you're going to need to use generous amounts of olive oil for this one. The toasted breadcrumbs are key and you'll be ever so grateful you did.
And please don't kill this dish by adding cream to it. If you really want an amazing authentic culinary experience, stick to the reccipe and get the creaminess you want by adding more olive oil and a bit of pasta water to keep it nice and moist.
This is hands down a favorite. I have yet to find someone who didn't love this recipe so I hope you'll be adding this one to your menu soon.
Gather the ingredients,
1-1/4 lb (20 oz) cut up chunks Butternut Squash (pre-cut available at grocery stores)
2 tbs olive oil for roasting butternut squash
1 tsp salt
1⁄2 tsp ground black pepper
1 bunch fresh sage
1⁄2 cup Grade A, shredded Parmigiano Reggiano
1 medium yellow onion (to yield 1 cup, finely chopped)
2 tbs olive oil for sautéing onions
Italian pane or rustic bread – 1 day stale (to yield 1 cup breadcrumbs)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbs + 1/3 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
Extra olive oil & Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for serving
1 lb Fettuccini pasta
Water for boiling pasta with 1⁄2 tbs salt
Also required is a 11” x 9” roasting pan or baking sheet, aluminum foil or parchment paper &
Preparation: Pre-heat the oven to 400 deg. F
Line the roasting pan with Aluminum foil or parchment paper and non-stick spray.
Breadcrumbs: In a food processor, add chunks of bread and process until broken down. Cook’s Note: Don’t worry if a few dime sized pieces remain.
Pasta water: Bring pasta water to a rolling boil with salt.
Butternut Squash: Cube large chunks into approx.3⁄4” pieces. Toss with 2 tbs olive oil, 1 tsp salt & 1⁄2 tsp ground black pepper. Roast for approx. 20 minutes until soft and a little brown along the edges.
Onions: Peel, discard ends and skin and finely chop.
As the bread dries constantly crush with the back of the spoon. Remove to a bowl and once cool enough to handle, crush with fingers to breakdown any large pieces into crumbs.
In the same pan, add 2 tbs oil and add the chopped onions & 1⁄2 tsp salt. Sauté, for 7-10 minutes until softened and translucent but do not let it not brown.
Cook the pasta for 10-11 minutes until al dente. Drain reserving 1⁄2 cup pasta water.
While the pasta is cooking,
In a large serving platter or dish, drizzle 1/3 cup olive oil. Add the onions, toasted breadcrumbs, the shredded cheese and the roasted butternut squash.
Sage: Separate the leaves from the stems. Roll them up and slice into thin slivers until you have 1⁄4 cup + 2 tbs sage. Add to the butter nut squash and stir to combine.
Taste and adjust the salt and pepper. Serve IMMEDIATELY – do not make and keep! Pass some extra Parmigiano Reggiano around the table.