Orecchiette w/Butternut Squash & Sage

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3-4 servings

Tip: I do eat meat, but continue to look for meatless options and find them very satisfying when they include hearty, textured vegetables and beans. Of course, you can add meat or other proteins to this recipe, but we found it to be quite tempting and flavorful. If you haven’t already, give meatless a try!

1 Tbsp olive oil
8 oz diced butternut squash (about 1/2 of a medium whole squash)
1/2 cup frozen baby lima beans or shelled edamame
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 small shallot
2 cloves fresh garlic
1 handful fresh sage leaves (about 1/2 – 1 oz)
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
8 oz dry orecchiette pasta (or another variety that will catch the sauce)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 ounce grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano (or another hard cheese such as Asiago or Romano)

Wash and dry all fresh produce.
Peel and dice butternut squash into 1/2-inch cubes. Measure about 2 heaping cups for recipe and store remainder in the refrigerator for another meal.
Finely chop shallot and mince the garlic.
Chop sage leaves.

Heat olive oil in a large stainless steel or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add squash, season lightly with S&P and cook, stirring occasionally but allow it to brown, about 5 minutes. Add lima beans and white wine; simmer to reduce the wine by about half. Remove veggies from pan and hold in a bowl. Add butter, shallots and garlic to skillet; cook and stir until butter is lightly browned and smells nutty…this won’t take long. You may need to reduce the heat a bit so it doesn’t burn. Add sage and stir to combine (there should be a wonderful aroma). Return squash mixture to the pan; remove pan from the heat, add the lemon juice and set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions, stirring frequently. Test when it’s about 2-3 minutes short of the recommended cooking time; you want to catch it just before the pasta is al dente. When the pasta reaches the “pre-al dente” stage, reserve 1-2 cups of the starchy water then drain an add pasta to the skillet. Add about 1/2 cup of the pasta water; simmer, gently stirring until the pasta reaches al dente. Add more of the pasta water to loosen the sauce and continue simmering quickly to create as much sauce as you desire but not overcook the pasta. Taste for seasoning; adjust with S&P as needed.

Spoon into pasta bowls and top with shaved or grated cheese and a twist of freshly ground black pepper over each serving.

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