Butternut, Seed & Sage Pasta

A simple recipe for autumnal pasta

It’s good to have a couple of squash waiting in a cool dark cupboard. They last for a long time, and it’s always nice to have one to reach for when you want to eat something comforting, hearty and healthy.

Last Sunday, for an impromptu dinner with two besties in the neighborhood, I looked in my fridge and waited for inspiration. A bulbous Butternut was pushed toward the back on one of the cramped shelves of my tiny refrigerator (Sebastian being the British aesthete that he is, insists on a below the counter model to preserve the clean lines of his kitchen). A package of sage that was one day away from complete decay caught my attention and I picked off the smallest and greenest of the leaves. A chunk of Parmesan, and I had my ingredients.

I sliced the Butternut in half lengthwise and had an idea when I saw what lay inside: the foils of the squash’s smooth meat and the texture of the seeds caught in a web of slimy strands. I would clean them and roast them and if they tasted good, I would add them to my dish. After rubbing the Butternut halves with olive oil and sea salt, I put them face down on a baking pan in an oven set to 375 degrees (face down, the steam caught under their own skins would roast them faster and keep them more moist).

While the squash roasted, I pan-fried those last viable sage leaves in some olive oil and sea salted them. Raw sage reminds me of the inside of a lamb’s ear, but post frying the sage was much more appetizing and delectably fragrant and crisp. I heavily salted and boiled some water, and when I went to my cavernous cupboard and felt around in the back past where I could see for gnocci, I felt a sleeve with pasta sheets intended for Lasagna, but thought I would use them for this recipe instead (the point being that a variety of pastas would work, though shorter pieces, like Orrechiette, Farfalle or Cavatelli, will work best).

After about 40 minutes, the squash was tender, and I spooned dollops of Butternut onto messy layers of pasta (which I doused in a little butter and olive oil after it was finished cooking to keep the sheets from sticking together), adding the sage leaves and a healthy dusting of shaved Parmesan to melt in between the layers. I finished the bowl with a drizzle of olive oil, some more Parmesan, and my toasted Butternut seeds, which leant each mouthful a Butternut essence as well as a welcome crunch.

Though this dish required only butternut, sage, pasta, cheese, olive oil and salt, it was a rewarding meal. I didn’t have to shop to make it, and used the things in my refrigerator and cupboard that were begging not to be wasted and waiting for a moment to shine.


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One Response to “Butternut, Seed & Sage Pasta”

  1. Cate Cale says:

    Looks delish! I love using “found” items in my fridge and cupboards to
    create a yummy meal.

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