things have been pretty busy in the Ing household! kevin is in the thick of final papers and exams, and i have been busy decorating the house, preparing for Christmas, and cooking/making some of kevin’s favorite things (lemon bars, dakdoritang, Razzmatazz jamba juice smoothies, etc.) so that he can joyfully endure this busy season. this week, i decided to get creative and come up with a recipe of my own.
my inspiration? 2 recipes: the first, a roasted butternut squash, chicken sausage and orecchiette pasta in a brown butter sage sauce, recipe (see photo below).
the second, a pasta with butternut sauce, spicy sausage, and baby spinach recipe (see photo below).
i call my creation orechiette pasta with butternut squash, bacon, and spinach in a butternut squash brown butter sage sauce. unfortunately, i don’t have a great picture of the final result, but it looked a bit like a combination of the two photos above. here’s the recipe!
- 1 lb orechiette pasta
- 4 (or more) thick slices of applewood smoked bacon
- 4 cups of cubed butternut squash (enough to fill a baking sheet)
- 2 Tbs dark brown sugar
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 small onion, chopped into cubes
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 stick butter
- 3-4 cups spinach
- sage (get fresh sage if you can!)
- parmesan cheese
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet spread out the butternut squash and coat with olive oil, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, until the butternut squash is completely cooked and the brown sugar caramelizes.
2) Chop the bacon into thick, forkable pieces. Cook in a pan until crispy and remove bacon, but leave the bacon grease in the pan. Add the garlic and onion to the pan of bacon grease and cook until caramelized. Add the butter and sage.
3) Take half of the roasted butternut squash and blend with white wine until you get a thick puree. Add the puree to the pan with the sauce. Add spinach to the pan until it cooks down and wilts. Season with more sage, salt, and pepper to taste.
4) While making the sauce, cook the orechiette pasta in a large pot, according to the package instructions (~9-10 minutes). Drain the water.
5) Add the sauce to the pot of cooked noodles. Add parmesan cheese, the rest of the butternut squash (the cubed pieces), and the cooked bacon. Adjust seasonings according to taste.
6) Dig in! Nom nom nom.
Our review/verdict: Delicious! I was pleased with how tasty it turned out. Each bite was like a burst of intense and strong flavors marrying in my mouth! The pureed butternut squash gave the pasta a lovely creamy, almost mac-n-cheese like quality. I’m really glad I decided to re-purpose half of the butternut squash and make it part of the sauce. It was a bit heavy. One small bowl was plenty! It was probably all that bacon grease and butter…yum. If you want to enjoy a healthier version of this, you can substitute the bacon with chicken sausage and substitute the butter with more wine (or water). Enjoy!