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pasta with roasted butternut squash + parmesan

A thick and creamy sauce made from roasted butternut squash is an unexpected sauce for this simple pasta dish. Adjust the amount of liquid in the sauce depending on how thick you want it to be. I prefer to use a kind of shelled pasta for this recipe to allow the sauce to get into all of the crevices of the pasta. A bit of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano over the top adds a nice salty bite but this recipe would also work well with crumbled goat cheese and toasted walnuts sprinkled over the top.

1/4 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
3 ounces pasta shells
1/2 shallot, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh sage, julienned
Pinch ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/2-1 cup low-sodium vegetable stock
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
2. Place squash on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Gently toss to combine. Roast for 35-40 minutes, turning occasionally, until softened and just lightly browned on all sides. Transfer squash to a food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside.
3. Bring a pot of water to boil and add salt. Add pasta and cook for 7-10 minutes, until al dente (reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water). Drain and set aside.
4. In a medium sauté pan, heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add shallot and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add sage and nutmeg and cook for about 30 seconds. Reduce heat to low and add butternut squash purée, cream and 1/2 cup stock and slowly whisk liquids into squash mixture to incorporate (it will be really thick do this slowly). Simmer for about 5 minutes. Whisk in 1/4 cup of reserved pasta water to thin out sauce. Adjust thickness of sauce to desired consistency by adding in more pasta water and/or stock as needed (sauce will be thick).
5. Transfer pasta to a serving bowl and top with butternut squash sauce. Garnish with Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve warm.

Serves 1.

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