Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pasta with Butternut Squash, Sage and Pine Nuts

This utterly simple dish is dazzling array of textures and of tastes, and yet is so beguilingly easy that can easily be made at a moment's notice.

Interestingly, as my dinner companion pointed out the dish follows all the aesthetic and culinary rules of Japanese washoku inspite of the fact that the dish is Italian, of course. The rules of go shiki (five colors) and go mi (five tastes) and go ho (five ways = different methods) are effortlessly satisfied.

It's success is precisely that it's visually arresting (Toulouse-Lautrec might be jealous) and texturally and tastewise different with every bite.


1 large red onion
2-3 cloves garlic (chopped into thin segments)
4-5 dried red chillies
1 butternut squash (diced into large-ish cubes)
black pepper
1/4 cup sage (chiffonaded)
1/2 cup pine nuts
olive oil

2 cups pasta
grated parmigiano-reggiano


Toast the pine nuts in a skillet. Set aside.

In a pot, heat some olive oil at a medium-low heat. Fry the onion, garlic and red chillies. Do not hurry this process. When the onions are limp but not caramelized, they will rerelease the oil they have absorbed. Add the butternut squash and fry languidly. Add the salt, and liberal amounts of black pepper.

Add some water, and cover and let the squash soften. The mixture should be just slightly on the wet side.

Cook some pasta al dente in heavily-salted water.

When the pasta is done, add the sage to the squash mixture, and toss with the pasta.

Add the parmigiano-reggiano and the toasted pine nuts as toppings.

No comments: