Pasta with Butternut Squash, Chilies and Saffron
Celebrate fall with this festive pasta dish.
- 1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into small, bite-sized pieces
- EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling plus 2 tablespoons
- Salt and pepper
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 pound guanciale, pancetta or prosciutto ends, chopped
- 1 fresh red chili pepper, finely chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons citrus zest, orange or lemon
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 healthy pinch saffron threads, 24-30 threads
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 pound egg tagliatelle or other long-cut pasta
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
Heat oven to 425°F.
Arrange butternut squash on baking sheet and dress with just enough EVOO to coat. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Roast 20 minutes, until tender and golden at edges.
Meanwhile, place a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta and start the sauce: In a deep skillet over medium to medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO, 2 turns of the pan. Add pork and render 2-3 minutes. Add chili, onion, garlic, thyme, citrus zest, salt and pepper, and soften 4-5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, cook 1 minute then add wine, saffron and stock. Reduce 10-12 minutes.
Cook pasta to al dente in salted water, reserving a ladle of pasta water before draining.
Melt butter into sauce, add drained pasta to sauce along with squash and toss to combine. Add starchy water if necessary; sprinkle in some cheese and top each serving with additional cheese and parsley to garnish.
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