Recipe: butternut squash pasta sauce
We received some snow.
And the Big Bad Wolf stopped trying to blow our house down.
Paradise can be a harsh mistress, but when she smiles favorably upon us there is nothing for it. Time to get outside!
glorious bluebird day with no winds to speak of
I was getting tired of the indoor workouts – continuous motion while going nowhere and still feeling stir crazy. All exercise is not created equal, you know. Kaweah won’t go near the treadmill (she’s scared of it), but she loves to go for a ski. We are both ardent champions of outdoor activity.
let’s go let’s go let’s go!
Jeremy and I finally grabbed a day at Vail too. No lines, no crowds, fresh falling snow, great conditions, and overpriced burgers. We skied the bumps, steeps, and trees. At the end of the day, my entire body was hurting, but in the best way possible.
overlooking vail valley
i biffed in the glades, but it was so pretty i had to take a picture
still on the ground, the view of the lovely snow and blue sucker holes in the sky
By the time we get home from a day on the big ski hills, we are pretty much ready to eat the kitchen counter. Being the planner that I am, I try to have something in the refrigerator that is easy to heat up and consume. Lately, this butternut squash pasta sauce has been a delightful change of pace from cream-based or tomato-based sauces.
butternut squash, butter, greek yogurt, parmesan, sage, shallots, salt, nutmeg, pepper, olive oil
I’ve been crushing on butternut squash for years, but only in the past couple of years have I started to prepare it at home. I find butternut squash ravioli irresistable, but I didn’t want to go to the trouble of making ravioli. I wondered if there might be a way to invert the dish, that is to make the filling the sauce? Sure enough, when I looked around on the interwebs, Elise and Garrett had done just that. I followed their lead with a few changes.
peeled, cored, and diced
toss with salt, pepper, olive oil
I roasted my squash a little differently – with olive oil rather than in standing water. I love the flavor of roasted butternut squash. The reason I diced it up was to increase the surface area of that crispy, chewy outer layer. Once that was in the oven, I sautéed the shallots
add shallots to the pan
cook until golden
When the squash was done, I dropped the pieces into my blender along with the shallots and a cup of water. Actually, I used 2 cups of water in total because my blender wasn’t budging without a lot more liquid. But eventually, it all did purée nicely.
purée in a blender or food processor
Once all of the chunks were gone, I poured the smooth purée into a saucepan and stirred in the Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt, and Greek yogurt. You can use sour cream, but it upsets my stomach. I also went light on the salt because I prefer to sprinkle some salt over the pasta sauce when I serve it. Do what works best for you. Heat the sauce through, but don’t let it come to a boil. At the same time, you want to cook whatever pasta you plan to serve with the sauce.
stir in the remaining ingredients
Sage and butternut squash team up nicely, so I figured I’d add sage as a garnish. Any excuse to fry some sage leaves in butter, an idea from my brilliant friend, Kell. Be sure to fry them until crisp, because the texture is half the fun. It only takes a minute or so and it adds volumes to the entire ensemble.
butter-fried sage leaves
Once everything is ready, I like to toss the pasta with a little bit of the sauce first. Then I dish it up and spoon more sauce on top. Next, sprinkle salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese over everything before garnishing with a few sage leaves. It’s creamy without feeling heavy and I love the sweetness of the butternut squash. The best part is that the sauce will store in the refrigerator for a few days and it makes for easy leftovers on those nights when you don’t want to spend a lot of time cooking and waiting around for dinner.
a satisfying plate for dinner
the sage is totally worth the tiny extra effort
Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce
from Simply Recipes
2.5 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, cored, and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
3 tbsps olive oil
1/3 cup shallots or onions, small dice (I used shallots)
1 cup water, more as needed
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated and packed
1/3 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
1/8 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
salt to taste
2 tbsps unsalted butter
12 medium sage leaves, fresh
extra grated Parmesan for topping
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a roasting pan, toss the butternut squash cubes, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper together until the squash is evenly coated. Roast the squash for 45 minutes, giving them a stir with a spatula every 15 minutes until the squash is fork-tender. Remove from oven and place the butternut squash in a blender or food processor. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small frying pan and sauté the shallots or onions until they start to brown. This takes a few minutes. Place the onions in the blender or food processor along with a cup of water. Add more water as needed – mine was super thick so I ended up using 2 cups of water. Purée the squash until smooth. Empty the contents into a medium saucepan and set on low heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, Greek yogurt (or sour cream), nutmeg, and salt to taste. You don’t want it to boil (and you don’t want the cheese to melt into a giant clump), just heat the sauce. Meanwhile, melt the unsalted butter in a small pan on high heat. When hot, place the fresh sage leaves in a single layer in the butter and fry. Turn them over after 30 seconds and continue to fry until crisp. Remove from pan. Serve the butternut squash sauce over any pasta (I like it with fettuccine – we had a pound of pasta) and sprinkle Parmesan, salt, and black pepper on top. Garnish with 3 fried sage leaves. Serves 4.