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Butternut Squash CarbonaraAs I was planning this month’s segment of WMUR’s Cook’s Corner, I planned to feature butternut squash – one of my favorite fall vegetables. My thoughts were leaning towards a pasta dish. Not using the squash as a noodle, or a filling, but as part of the sauce. I wanted to use some fresh bacon from the Salem NH Farmers Market, too. Natch I decided on a carbonara. And i wanted to use my Le Creuset French oven and make a one-pot dinner.

Serendipitously, a friend posted a viral video about an alfredo version. Mine is based off that video by Tasty.

Me with Sean McDonald, host of WMUR's Cook's CornerI always make more than one dish using the featured ingredient. Also on this episode was Butternut Squash Risotto, Butternut Squash, Apple & Pear Au Gratin, Butternut Squash & Pear Bisque and Butternut Squash Grilled Cheese – one version with bacon, the other with apple.

Here’s a quick tip: when you find a recipe and you have no idea of how many cups of cubed squash you can get out of one, or how many pounds, here’s an average: 1 squash = 2 lbs = 4 c cubed. This is an average, of course, as it will depend on the size of the squash.

This butternut squash carbonara is thicker than the usual carbonara. And yes I said one pot.  I was leery about cooking pasta in the sauce, but I threw caution to the wind and tested it two ways – once with dry pasta and once with fresh. Fresh pasta doesn’t absorb the sauce as much as the dry. I used about 32 oz of fresh for this recipe; after adding the first 16 oz, I parboiled a second batch to make it work.

Consider substituting milk for cream for a lower-calorie version.

What you need:

  • 4 tbs EVOO
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed (about 4 c)
  • 8 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 sm onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh sage
  • 3 c chicken broth, divided
  • 2 c cream, divided
  • 16 oz dry fettuccine or linguine
  • 2 c milk
  • Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 c Parmigiano Reggiano, plus more for serving

What you do:

  • Heat lightly coated lg French oven over med heat.IMG_9905
  • Add bacon and cook until crisp, about 8 min.
  • Transfer bacon to paper towel.
  • Add 4 tbs butter to pot.
  • Add onion, garlic and sage.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 8 min.
  • Add butternut squash and 1 c broth.
  • Cover and cook 15 min.
  • Purée with immersion blender (if you don’t have an immersion blender, mash the squash while in the pot; if needed, transfer to food processor.)
  • Add 2 c cream and 1 c Parmigiano Reggiano.
  • Stir and cook for 5 min.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Break fettuccine in half and add to pot.
  • Carefully combine pasta with sauce to coat fully.
  • Add 1 c cream and 2 c broth, 1/2 c at a time, alternating and stirring to combine.
  • Continue to add broth until desired creaminess is reached and pasta is al dente (refer to your pasta’s directions).
  • Mix in 3/4 of the bacon.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve in individual serving dishes with remaining bacon, sage and cheese.
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