I still have a few butternut squash from last year’s harvest. I love this vegetable, but am coming to my wits end as to how to prepare it! I have roasted it, combined it with first Barley then Quinoa. Previously, I’ve made soup and curry. It took a little digging and examination of the contents of the pantry, but here I have adapted a recipe from Martha Stewart’s website.

I am gratified the squash, sage and shallots all came from the garden. Additionally I home cured and smoked the bacon. Therefore, this is very much a local production.

Simple, sweet yet savory, with just a little heat,  this is comfort food!

Penne with Butternut Squash, Bacon, and Sage

[tw-divider]INGREDIENTS[/tw-divider]
3 cups diced Butternut Squash (about 1 medium or 2 1/4 pounds)
2 Tablespoons olive oil divided
¾ pound penne pasta
3-4 slices thick bacon cut into small lardons (sticks)
2 shallots, thinly sliced
¼ +/- teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon crushed dried sage leaves
½ cup finely grated hard cheese such as Parmesan, or Pecorino Romano
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt (I used smoked salt to bring out the bacon)
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 You’d think I would have noticed the flaw in the squash and turned it. Nope!

[tw-divider]METHOD[/tw-divider]

  1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees
  2. Place butternut squash on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil; season with salt and sage Put squash in oven and roast until squash is tender and starting to caramelize, about 25-35 minutes
  3. About 15 minutes before squash is done, prepare pasta according to directions
  4. Drain (Reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid ) and rinse pasta
  5. Set rinsed pasta and reserved cooking liquid aside
  6. Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat
  7. Add bacon and cook until just crisp
  8. Drain all but 2 Tbs fat
  9. Add shallots and crushed red pepper
  10. Cook until shallots are soft and tender but not browned
  11. Add penne and squash and toss gently so as not to crush the squash, adding reserved some pasta cooking liquid if needed to moisten
  12. Add cheese and black pepper and cook, tossing gently, until pasta and squash are heated through
  13. Top with more grated cheese if you want. OK, who doesn’t want more freshly grated Pecorino Romano?

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Serve immediately.
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Until next time, Eat Well & Keep Digging!