I've seen a lot of butternut squash sauces all over the internet, but I love that this one gets it's creaminess solely from the pureed vegetable (no cream added!). The inspiration for this particular dish came from The First Mess, but I made a few changes.
Mostly because I love sage and mushrooms...
Here's how you make it!
1 butternut squash
salt and pepper
4-6 sage leaves (for roasting)
1 large clove garlic
6-8 sage leaves (for the sauce)
1 tbsp chili flakes (+/- depending on preference)
1 large lemon
1.5 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup sliced baby bella mushrooms
2 heaping cups of gemelli or orecchiette pasta
1/2 cup pasta water
1 cup chickpeas
1/4 cup grated romano cheese
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1-2 mushroom slices and 2 sage leaves for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the squash lengthwise. Scoop the seeds out.
Rub a little olive oil on each half, sprinkle with salt and pepper and set on top of a few sage leaves face down.
Roast for about 30 minutes, or until the squash is soft. Take the sage leaves off and let it cool.
Scoop the flesh out of each half and set it aside. If you are buying the squash already chopped, you will need about 2.5 cups of it!
In a saute pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil with chopped sage, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
Add the cooked butternut squash, lemon juice, and vegetable stock. Mash the squash as this cooks together.
Transfer this mixture to a food processor. Meanwhile, chop the mushrooms into small pieces and saute in olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Pulse the squash mixture until smooth and then add it back into the pan with the mushrooms. Let this simmer as you cook the pasta. I thought this batch needed a full 1/2 cup of pasta water to loosen it up, but you can add a little bit at a time and see how yours looks. You could also add more lemon juice, if you just want to loosen it a little bit.
Then add the cheese, pine nuts and chick peas. Add salt, pepper, and more chili flakes if necessary.
Add the al dente pasta to this mixture. Don't over cook it, because you want to mix it into the sauce over heat. That way the sauce can stick to the noodles.
If you want to add the garnish, just saute a few more chopped mushrooms and thinly sliced sage leaves in olive oil. Cook until the mushrooms are tender and the sage leaves are crispy. Add right on top!
The perfect meal for a cold Chicago night!