Comfort food! Ah, yes, comfort food! It’s getting to be that special time of year again. Fall is my favorite cooking season (though, really, there isn’t a bad season for cooking!)
Fall is all about warming, autumn harvest foods. Delicata, acorn, spaghetti, and butternut squash are just some of the fantastic squashes that appear during this season. Some squashes are great for chopping and roasting, while others can be split and roasted in halves with savory fillings. However you use them, it’s wonderful to use foods that are in season because that’s when they are the most flavorful (and even their nutritional value is higher.)
This pasta dish is a combination of comforting flavors and is extremely hearty. It’s not especially fast to prepare, but most “comfort foods” take time and are well worth it! And part of the comfort is warming your home with the great aromas as you cook! I love when my boys call down from upstairs, “What smells so good? Is that dinner?”
1 1/2 cups butternut squash puree
1/2 pound Pappardelle Pasta
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage
1 recipe Caramelized Herbed Mushrooms
1 cup vegetable stock or broth
2 tablespoons Mascarpone
2 teaspoons brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Serves 4 to 6
To make the butternut squash puree, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, cover a baking sheet with foil, and set aside. Cut the top couple inches off the squash and then cut it in half down the center. Use a metal spoon to scrape out the seeds. Place the two halves flesh side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the oven until soft, about 40 minutes for a two pound squash. Once it’s cool enough to touch, use a spoon to scoop out the flesh.
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water until al dente — just tender but still firm to bite. Drain the pasta in a colander and put it back into the pot, toss with olive oil, and set aside.
In a large sauce pan over medium heat, cook the onion until soft, about five minutes. Add the sage and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Then stir in the squash puree, mushrooms, and stock or broth. Once the sauce is simmering, reduce the heat to low and add the Mascarpone, and the sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the pasta to the pot and stir to coat with the sauce.
Some additional notes:
Pappardella is my favorite pasta, and I love it with this sauce. However, I use brown rice pasta to accommodate my gluten-free son and husband. Any pasta is great!
And here’s a time saving tip: you can usually find butternut squash puree in hot food bar at Whole Foods.