pasta / primo recipes

squash carbonara + pancetta

December 29, 2016

hi my name is aleshia, and i’m addicted to pasta.

i wonder if there’s a sort of “carbaholics anonymous” group i could join. i just can’t stop eating carbs. all day i dream about bowls of noodles, warm slices of bread, potatoes in any form, and cakes on cakes. even after eating so much over the holidays (i still went to the gym though! which i basically just used as an excuse to eat even more), i still came home and ate pasta for lunch yesterday. i’m starting to see all of the “new year, new you” posts on all of the blogs, and the “healthy resolutions” and “detox january” all over my social media and this year i’m kind of like fuck it. i love food, i love wine, i don’t need a new me, i need to be eating as much pasta as my little italian heart desires.

but just in case you haven’t given up on health and are going down the carbless path in the new year, you will need to cram in as many delicious meals as you can in the next two days. luckily, i have the perfect comfort food dish for you: butternut squash carbonara with pancetta and sage. i know i’m going a little untraditional and i can’t really call this a carbonara, but it’s just so creamy and delicious. a traditional carbonara is made with only cream, eggs, cheese and pork; the cream, eggs and cheese are whisked together to form a creamy sauce without letting the eggs scramble, then adding cured pork & lots of black pepper. it’s comforting and all kinds of deliciousness, but the sweetness from the squash puree with the salty, fattiness of the pancetta that coats your tongue in this version is winning me over. it’s the best sweet n salty combo out there, hands down. one bowl of this and i betcha $5 that you’ll be throwing that diet plan out the window! 🙅🏻

squash carbonara 
*serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
about 50 grams pancetta or guanciale if you can find it
1 tablespoon freshly chopped sage
1 small butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into chunks
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (essentially a big pinch)
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup grated pecorino, plus more for serving
1/2 bag fettuccine or linguine

heat the olive oil in a large pot, and add the pancetta. cook until begining to brown and crisp, about 8-10 minutes, and add sage for last two minutes of cooking. remove from pot with a slotted spoon and set aside.

add the onions and garlic to the pot (without draining the accumulated oil), and cook until translucent. add the squash chunks and broth and bring to a boil. reduce heat and simmer until squash is cooked through and liquid is reduced by half, about 25-35 minutes. remove from heat and let cool slightly, then puree in blender or food processor until smooth, set the pot aside for later.

while the puree is cooling, bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. add the pasta and cook until just before al-dente. while pasta is cooking, add the puree back to the pot over medium heat. add 1/4 cup pasta water, the grated pecorino, the fried pancetta and sage, pepper, and the pasta once it’s done, and toss the pasta until a thick sauce forms, about 2 minutes.

serve with additional grated pecorino and black pepper.

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