Other than that, there's really nothing complicated about this dish! Browning the butter and crisping the sage can be done in the time it takes the pasta to cook. A sprinkle of pine nuts and a snowy layer of parmesan on top of each bowl are the final touch.
Make it. Eat it. Love it. Happy Fall, everyone!
Fettuccine with Roasted Butternut Squash, Brown Butter & Sage
1 small butternut squash, about 2 pounds
1/2 pound fettuccini noodles
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
10-15 whole sage leaves, sliced cross-wise into very thin ribbons
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup cup pine nuts
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oven to 450°F.
Peel the squash, scrape out the seeds, and cut it into 1/2-inch cubes. Toss the cubes with a little olive oil and salt, and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 45-60 minutes, stirring the cubes every 15 minutes, until they are tender and beginning to show caramelized brown spots. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta with a generous amount of salt for 7-9 minutes, or according to package instructions. Scoop out 1/2 cup of pasta cooking liquid before draining, then drain the pasta and set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Swirl the pan occasionally and cook until the butter has turned caramel-brown and smells nutty, about 5 minutes.
Add the sage leaves to the browned butter and let them fry for a few seconds until crispy. Add the roasted butternut squash, nutmeg, and a half teaspoon of salt to the pan and stir until the squash is evenly coated with butter. Pour in 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta liquid and let this bubble into a thin sauce. Taste and add more salt if needed. Add the cooked pasta, tossing to coat and mix evenly. Remove from heat.
Transfer the pasta into a large serving bowl or individual pasta bowls. Top with the pine nuts and a generous shaving of parmesan cheese.
• Shortcut Version: For a quicker weeknight pasta, reduce the roasting time for the squash to 15-20 minutes. The squash will be tender but not caramelized. The squash can also be roasted a few days ahead.
• Extra-Creamy Version: When adding the pasta water to the pan, also add 1/4-1/2 cup of cream and a cup of shredded parmesan cheese. Wait for the cheese to melt into a creamy sauce and then add the pasta.
Originally published 10/13/2006
(Image: Emma Christensen)