This one comes from Lidey Heuck in NyTimes Cooking. It’s a very satisfying butternut squash “sauce” that gives this such a satisfying taste, while the lemon zest adds just the right amount of zing to the nuts. We made it vegan by using some nutritional yeast instead of parmesan – and it worked terrific. Next time we might add some plant based Beyond sausage to give it just a bigger hit of savory.
For 2-4 servings you’ll need: about 1/2 cup sage leaves (very roughly chopped), 1/2 cup walnuts (roughly chopped), 2-1/2 cups butternut squash (peeled and chopped into 1/2″ cubes), x2 garlic cloves (cut in half if they are large), grated zest of 1 lemon (about 1-2 Tbsp), 1 cup vegetable broth, 1/2-3/4 lb casarecce pasta, 1/4-1/2 cup nutritional yeast (or parmesan, if that’s your taste), 3-4 Tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 400.
Toss the butternut squash cubes and halved garlic cloves in a small bowl with about 1 Tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. Make sure everything is coated.
Lightly oil a baking sheet and place the squash and garlic in a single layer on top. Place in the preheated oven under tender – turning once or twice during the roasting – about 20 mins.
In a large pan heat x3 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add sage and stir well until just beginning to crisp – about 1 min. Add walnuts and a good sprinkling of salt and stir well over medium heat until sage starts to brown and walnuts start to smell nutty – about 2-3 mins.
Remove the sage/walnuts from the skillet and place on a paper lined plate to drain for a few minutes. Place sage/walnuts into a small bowl and add lemon zest – toss well to combine and set aside.
Wipe out the skillet with paper towel and bring a larger pot of water to a boil. Once your water is boiling, cook the pasta to al dente – about 9 or 10 minutes or according to package instructions.
Once the roasted squash/garlic is tender, place it into a blender of food processor and add 1 cup of vegetable stock. Puree well, adding more stock if needed in order to give it the consistency of a thick soup. Place this “squash sauce” back into the skillet and place over very low heat.
Drain the pasta saving about 1 cup of the pasta water. Add pasta to the squash sauce in the skillet and stir well to cover. Add a few tablespoons of the pasta water and the nutritional yeast (or parmesan), and stir well. Adjust the thickness of your sauce by adding pasta water or yeast/parmesan until it is to your taste.
Transfer to a large serving bowl and add the sage/walnut/lemon mixture over the top. Gently combine and serve with crusty bread.