Squash cooked in rendered bacon fat sets the stage for a simple skillet pasta "sauce" made using white wine, chicken stock, and plenty of parmesan cheese.
Suggestion: serve with salad of escarole or romaine, red onion, fennel, oranges and artichoke hearts, dressing white balsamic Dijon in jar.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ⅓ pound meaty bacon or pancetta, finely diced
- ¾-1 pound butternut squash or pumpkin, diced ¼-inch
- Salt and pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg, grated
- 7-8 leaves sage, finely chopped
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 fat cloves garlic, chopped
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 ½ cups chicken stock
- ½ cup peeled hazelnuts or walnuts
- 1 pound Gigli Toscani/Campanelle or other short pasta
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup grated Parm or Pecorino cheese
- Minced chives, to serve
Heat a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, add the bacon or pancetta and render 2 minutes, add the squash and season with salt, pepper, nutmeg, sage and soften 5 minutes, add shallots and garlic and cook 2 minutes more, add wine and let it absorb. Add stock and reduce heat to low.
Toast nuts in a small pan over medium heat on stovetop or use a toaster oven or oven at 350˚F. Chop nuts.
Add salt to pasta water to season, add pasta and cook about 1 minute less than package directions for al dente, reserve about half a mug, ½-3/4 cup starchy water, drain pasta..
Add the pasta and butter to squash and toss with cheese, using water as needed to keep pasta from drying out; toss a full minute. Adjust seasoning and serve pasta in shallow bowls topped with nuts and chives, pass more cheese at table.