the moveable feasts

Pasta with Roasted Butternut Squash, Sage, and Parmesan

with 12 comments

pasta with butternut squash, sage and parmesan

Okay, first things first—Can I just go ahead and say that my Baracky road ice cream worked? I knew my efforts of trying to finish off the batch with a friend on election night were worth it.  Because let me tell you, it is hard work to shovel in spoonful after spoonful of that rich ice cream with some homemade chocolate sauce once the point of fullness has been reached.  So yes, if you insist, I will take the credit  for why we still have the Obama administration in the White House. Heaven forbid what might have happened if I had made Mitt chocolate chip ice cream instead.

(By the way, isn’t this the nicest photo of the Obamas ever? Sigh, I wish I were a part of that family.)

why are they so difficult to peel
roasted, soft, tender, delectable

Anyway! Back to the mundane and exclusively non-political realm of food from now on. We’re in the home-stretch of reaching the holidays, friends, and I could not be more happy about it. These flavors here, the earthy squash and sage, is a reminder to me that home and Thanksgiving are not so far away. Now, I’m not sure if this is one of those flavor combinations that has been so overly circulated and widespread among the general population that, by this point, it bores some of you to tears. Has it? That’s an honest question, because after seeing it here and then here, as well seeing the results on a google search, it seems that butternut squash-sage everything exists.

fried, crisped sage leaves
add the sqaush, pasta

This is, however, both a very new and very exciting flavors to me. If you’re like me and haven’t the luxury of yawning at this post right now, if nothing else please go out buy butternut squash and roast its rosy-orange flesh with olive oil, salt, pepper and minced sage until the squash is meltingly-tender. You can go through the extra steps, like I did, of quickly sauteeing it with some penne, parmesan, and then top it with some toasted hazelnuts and little fried sage leaves, but I honestly think the majority of the satisfaction of this dish lies in those near-mushy little cubes of squash roasted with sage.

But when finished, this dish has a warmth to it that I don’t think can be explained away by just looking at the individuality of the ingredients. There must be some magic to it, then, when you roast the herby sage with the squash and let it settle into the pasta with some salty parmesan cheese and nutty hazelnuts.  If I were to make this again (which I will, because let’s be honest—I have a tupperware full of extra roasted and saged squash that I made once realizing that I my love for these flavors needed to exist beyond dinner last night), I would sautee the squash and pasta together a little longer. I thought I didn’t want the squash to break down completely, but I think I would have liked it a bit mushier. Sounds less appealing, but probably tastes so much better.

penne with roasted butternut squash and sage
penne with roasted butternut squash, sage, parmesan and hazelnuts

One Year Ago: Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer Cake

Penne with Roasted Butternut Squash, Sage, and Parmesan
Adapted from The Kitchn, via The Tart Tart
Serves 4

1 2-pound butternut squash, peeled and
1/2 cup fresh sage leaves, loosely packed, divided
olive oil
12 ounces penne
1 small onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped and toasted
freshly grated parmesan

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Peel the squash, then cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out its seeds. Cube into about 3/4-inch chunks. Spread the cubes on a baking sheet, and then drizzle with a tablespoon or two of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mince about half of the sage leaves and then sprinkle that on top, too. Gently toss so that the oil and sage coats the squash cubes as evenly as possible, and then spread it all so it is one even layer on the baking sheet. Roast until the squash is tender and soft, about 30-40 minutes, taking out the pan halfway through to turn over the squash.

Meanwhile, bring a big pot of water to boil, add a few big pinches of salt, and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving about 1/4 cup of the starchy cooking liquid.

While both the squash is roasting and the water is boiling, heat about two tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, drop in the rest of the sage leaves and cook until crisp, about one minute, before removing them with a slotted spoon and setting them aside. In the remaining heated oil, add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent, but not brown. Once soft, add in the pasta, reserved cooking liquid, butternut squash, and pan-fry until the pasta begins to crisp and the squash begins to break down. Grate in some parmesan cheese and add most of the hazelnuts and stir to combine. Serve, topping each plate of pasta with another dose of parmesan, and a sprinkling of the fried sage.

Written by Amy

November 7, 2012 at 8:58 pm

12 Responses

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  1. I could never get tired of roasted butternut squash with sage. Some combinations really are just so good that we all need to repeat them again and again. And having a simpler recipe than my roll ups is great, I guess I have to make this soon.
    I love your pictures on this post, the blue background was a great choice. I just makes the squash stand out really nicely.


    November 9, 2012 at 1:10 am

    • I still want to try your roll ups! But you’re right when you said it is nice to have an easy pasta dish like this, especially because this was the pasta I had on hand. And thank you for the nice words!


      November 9, 2012 at 10:31 am

  2. First off, hooray that you’re ice cream eating efforts worked! Secondly, this looks delicious. Third, if you like squash and sage, you have to try it in tortellini with browned butter and also in risotto with crispy fried sage on the top. Heaven.


    November 9, 2012 at 1:29 am

    • Ohh I love that risotto idea, I think that is what I’ll do with my leftover roasted squash with sage. And with browned butter? Mmmm!


      November 9, 2012 at 10:26 am

  3. YUM! i made something just like this the other night, but it didn’t look nearly as beautiful! i pureed the squash and used it as a sauce, which was also delicious! looks absolutely scrumptious :)

    little kitchie

    November 9, 2012 at 4:21 am

    • Thank you! And I like how pureeing it sounds. Maybe I could just cook the pasta and squash in the skillet until the squash breaks down and purees itself into a mushy sauce.


      November 9, 2012 at 10:28 am

  4. Butternut squash and sage does seem to be everywhere, and it does sound tiresome to me, but I can’t actually remember the last time that I ate them together, so obviously it’s something that I should revisit! I have loads of sage in the garden (I grew it only to keep away certain pests – not sure if that even worked), and I haven’t touched a sprig all season. It’s a sign – I’m going to have to make this sometime next week!


    November 9, 2012 at 7:31 am

    • Ah, I knew I’d hit a bored person sometime! There is no harm in revisiting it, like you say, and especially if you have some beautiful sage to use up.


      November 9, 2012 at 10:38 am

      • Amy, I didn’t actually get around to making the pasta until tonight, but I’m really glad that I did. It made for a really satisfying meal. I used almonds instead of hazelnuts, since they were what I had. I found that the squash and pasta were starting to stick to the pan a little towards the end. A little deglazing with some white wine would have fixed that, but I didn’t have an open bottle. Anyway, thanks for sharing this recipe. I still have some leftover squash, so I’ll probably make some more pasta for lunch tomorrow!


        November 13, 2012 at 9:31 pm

  5. I don’t know how I missed this post. Or actually I do – it snuck into my bloglovin feed near the bottom for some reason, but anyway, I’m so glad I checked in because this recipe sounds perfect for Sunday lunch and I have an enormous butternut squash that I have no idea what to do with. And no, I’m never sick of seeing butternut/sage recipes – ’tis the season! I might even try it with risotto…mmm yum!


    November 10, 2012 at 9:58 am

    • Oh yes, go with risotto! That sounds so good right about now. And you’re right — ’tis the season. Why not? :)


      November 12, 2012 at 3:31 pm

  6. Amy! I’m so glad you liked it. That extra step makes a difference, doesn’t it? All these other ideas sound so good too: risotto, brown butter, deglazing with white wine. I’ll definitely have to revisit this dish (oof, but not for awhile. I can’t believe Thanksgiving is coming up!)


    November 19, 2012 at 5:04 am

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