I have this problem where I want to eat bacon with everything, and so I compromise by adding it with something healthy like so. This Butternut Squash Pasta Carbonara is the perfect fall meal and it will likely become a staple meal for you this time of year. It’s deliciously creamy (and no it doesn’t need eggs, it still has a wonderfully creamy texture that reminds me of classic pasta carbonara without them), it’s rich and hearty, it has the perfect balance and blend of flavors (bacon + butternut squash + sage were made for each other, think lightly sweet, perfectly salty and kissed with herbs) and it’s a meal your whole family will enjoy, even my kids gave this a big thumbs up!
The only tedious thing about this recipe to me is peeling, seeding and chopping up the squash into small cubes…it takes foreeeeever. Okay like 10 – 15 minutes, but 10 – 15 minutes can be precious these days so maybe I’ll have to try it out with the pre-cut stuff from the store to make it a quicker meal and see how it goes. Really though this pasta is so good it is most definitely worth the chopping required so don’t hesitate to try it! It is absolutely delicious and it’s the perfect comforting fall dish. And if you want to add extra bacon I won’t judge, I may or may not have added a little extra myself :).
Butternut Squash Pasta Carbonara
Yield: About 5 servings
- 6 slices (6 oz) bacon, chopped
- 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh sage
- 1 small yellow onion , chopped (1 heaping cup)
- 1 (1 3/4 lb) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 1/3 cups)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 (14.5 oz) can low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg
- 1/4 cup heavy cream (or half and half for a lighter option)
- 14 oz dry linguine
- 1/3 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese , plus more for serving
Cook bacon in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat (reducing heat slightly if needed) until browned and crisp, add sage and toss to coat in drippings. Remove bacon and sage from skillet while leaving 2 Tbsp rendered bacon fat in skillet, transfer bacon and sage to a plate lined with paper towels, set aside.
Add onions to drippings in skillet and saute over medium-high heat 2 minutes, then add squash, season with salt and pepper and cook, tossing occasionally 7 minutes (onions should be beginning to brown lightly). Add in garlic and cook, tossing occasionally, 2 minutes longer. Pour in chicken broth, sprinkle in nutmeg and bring to a boil then reduce heat and allow to simmer until broth has reduced by half, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook linguine to al dente in a large pot of salted water according to directions on package (ideally time it so pasta finishes cooking nearly the same time as the sauce is finished in the next step below). Drain and reserve 1 cup pasta water.
Let simmered squash mixture cool for a few minutes then transfer mixture to a blender (reserve skillet) and add cream to blender (with hot liquids your blender should be no more than half full so if you have a smaller blender work in two batches), cover with lid then remove lids center insert. While holding a folded kitchen towel over lid blend mixture until smooth.
In reserved skillet combined drained pasta, pureed squash mixture, and 1/4 cup reserved pasta water. Cook over medium heat, tossing and adding in more pasta water to thin as needed, until sauce coats pasta, about 2 minutes. Toss in 1/3 cup parmesan, season with salt and pepper to taste. Plate and serve pasta topped with parmesan, bacon, sage and more pepper.
Recipe source: adapted slightly from Bon Appetit