‘Tis the season of the butternut squash, and oh how I love it. I’ve already rhapsodized about this wonderful roasted butternut dip, and of course butternut is just awesome baked up with some oil oil and herbs. But this recipe today uses it as the base for a pasta sauce — in this case ravioli. Creative, right? This is another one I found on the Everyday Foods website, and I’m pretty much sticking with their version in the recipe below, but I do have to admit that I got to skip the hardest part of the whole thing, which is cutting up the usually hard as a rock butternut. My beloved Fairway supermarket always has butternut already peeled and chopped and ready for me to roast. And those times that I have actually set food in another supermarket, I have also seen peeled and chopped butternut for sale there, too. Yes, it is definitely more expensive than tackling the butternut preparation yourself. But trust me, it’s worth it.
Anyway, once you get past the butternut-chopping, it is all an easy downhill cruise from there. You roast those happy little butternut chunks with some garlic and sage, and then whiz them in your handy food processor with a little bit of light cream and water. Season it as you like and you have the most wonderful and different pasta sauce. I tossed mine with some little beef ravioli and sprinkled it with chopped walnuts and chopped fresh sage, but go crazy with your own ideas. Tortellini, pappardale, roasted pistachios, chopped parsley….you really can’t go wrong.
So, happy butternut season…yum, yum.
Recipe lightly adapted from Everyday Food
- 1 medium butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 5 cloves garlic, peel on
- 1 cup half-and-half
- Pasta (ravioli or any short pasta), about 1/2 pound depending on what kind you are using.
- Your choice of toppings, such as grated parmesan cheese, chopped toasted walnuts, finely chopped fresh sage, etc etc etc
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Using a large, sharp knife, trim ends; halve squash crosswise to separate bulb from neck. Peel with a vegetable peeler. Cut both pieces in half lengthwise. With a spoon, scoop out seeds; discard. Or, do like I do and pick up the already peeled and chopped butternut at your favorite supermarket.
- Cut squash into 2-inch chunks; transfer to a small rimmed baking sheet. Toss with oil and sage; season generously with salt and pepper. Scatter garlic around squash. Roast until squash is very tender, about 40 minutes, tossing once halfway through. Remove skin from garlic.
- Transfer squash and garlic to a food processor; puree. With motor running, add half-and-half through the feed tube; process until smooth. Add 1 to 2 cups water; continue to process until smooth, adding water to thin if necessary. Season again generously with salt.
- Cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain pasta and return to pot. Pour sauce over pasta; toss to coat. Add some pasta water to thin sauce if necessary. Serve with desired toppings.