This has to be one of my favorite pasta dishes, it’s seriously up there with my homemade bolognese sauce. I made it this past September when Danny was at a company event one evening. Ever since then, I have made it at least 6 more times, including on our last trip to Orlando for my Suegra.
My inspiration came from pumpkin ale. Weird, I know. I’m not a huge beer drinker, I like certain ones and when fall rolls around, I immediately grab a case for our fridge. And not just any pumpkin ale, either. I look for Dogfish Head’s pumpkin ale. You see, after two years of not being able to have it (pregnancy then breastfeeding the following year), I was FINALLY able to drink it, not just taste it, but savor the entire bottle…and another…and, well you get the idea. It’s THAT good.
Now, the beer doesn’t taste outrightly like pumpkin but instead also has flavors of fall like all spice, cinnamon or even nutmeg. Knowing I had an evening all to myself, I messaged our friend Kit who is an exceptional beer guru, what foods can I combine the beer with. After reading his response, inspiration struck!
The ingredients might seem odd to some of you but if you love butternut squash then you will definitely love this dish!
I highly recommend you prep all your ingredients before you begin making the dish itself. Oh! And try to buy butternut squash already peeled and diced up for you. Peeling one isn’t the easiest thing in the world…said my (thumb) skin that was left on the vegetable peeler. Don’t ask.
- 1 1/2 cups of butternut squash, peeled and diced into bite size pieces
- 4 ounces of diced pancetta (or if you REALLY can't find pancetta, 2 strips of bacon will do)
- 1 large shallot sliced
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1/2 cup of white wine
- 1 cup of heavy cream (don't judge, I can't help it)
- 1/4 cup of finely minced parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg (optional)
- 1 teaspoon of finely minced rosemary
- 16 ounce box of penne pasta (or any short pasta that prefer)
- Shredded parmesan to taste (served at the end)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. On a aluminum covered baking sheet, add the butternut squash, cinnamon, nutmeg, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper (to taste). Toss it all together making sure none of the squash are overlapping. This is to ensure you get a nice crust on the sides. Roast for 25 minutes (could be less or more, depending on your oven so keep an on eye on them!!!).
- Grab a big pot and fill it a little more than halfway with water. Bring it to a boil. When the pot comes to a boil, salt the water and add your pasta. Follow the time on the box minus 1 minute. This ensures the pasta is al dente.
- While the pasta is boiling, heat a large sauté pan at medium heat and add the rest of the olive oil and pancetta. Sauté the pancetta until they are browned, next add the shallots. Sauté the shallots until they are translucent (or softened). Add the garlic, a pinch of salt and stir for a couple of seconds.
- Add the wine and it let it reduce a bit. By that I mean, there can be wine left in the pan, just not the same amount you put in. Next add your heavy cream, rosemary and reduce the heat to LOW. If your stove top is like mine and gets REALLY hot even when it's low, slide it away from the heat until the pasta has a minute or so left. You want to make sure you have some sauce for that pasta!
- When the pasta has a minute left, grab a mug or measuring cup and get about 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Set it aside.
- Drain the pasta and add it to your sauce. Next add your diced butternut squash and parsley. Grab two big spoons and toss your pasta GENTLY together, making sure everything is coated in the sauce. If the sauce feels too thick, add 1/4 cup of the pasta water to thin the sauce out a bit. Try not to break up the butternut squash; you don't want it to be pureed in the process of tossing since it's already cooked.
- Add some parmesan, grab a fork and DIG IN!
My goodness…look at all that deliciousness.
The flavors are sooooooo good. Pumpkin ale not required but highly recommended.
Pop in a movie and you have a perfect night in. Thanks again Kit!