Butternut squash is puréed to create a creamy delicious sauce for the pasta which is topped with caramelized mushrooms and sage.
The summer after my freshman year of college I worked as an “administrative specialist” for Cutco. It was quite possibly the sketchiest job I’ve ever had between the business never actually calling itself Cutco (it was Vector Marketing Association) and the dirty spider infested office it resided in below a day care. I had no idea what I was getting myself into until my first day when I figured out that “specialist” meant placing follow-up phone calls to all the poor souls that felt too bad to say no to the fresh out of college salesman that got their names from some family member or friend throwing them under the bus and had to sit through the torturous hour demonstration involving knives that cost as much as your mortgage cutting through pennies, rope and leather. I had to make sure the salesman actually did his or her job so that they would be eligible for their measly commission. I think I lasted about 4 weeks before getting too freaked out by the all day Saturday Tony Robbins-esque motivational sessions that went on and decided waitressing was where it was at.
Pick popcorn shrimp off people’s apps before they went out or sit in a spider infested office making phone calls? Hmm, tough call.
So after that little experience I swore I’d never get these so called miracle knives named Cutco when I was at the point in life of needing a knife set.
Until I received a set of them for a wedding gift. And while I still stand by the complete sketchiness of their pyramid scheme organization, their knives do kinda kick ass. So fast forward to year 5 of Cutco knife ownership and I‘m in desperate need of a legit sharpening. I happen to be at the county fair and pass by the local Cutco lady’s booth. I ask her how I go about getting my knives sharpened and she says “well, you can either send them in and pay a fee or I can come to your house and do it for you free of charge!” So of course I take the free option. I mean, duh.
Apparently I had my dumbass blinders on that day though and actually thought free meant free. Oh, no. “Free” in Cutco language means come to your house, do a demo, show you all the fun add-on knives you can get for your collection, wait in awkward silence as you peruse the catalog and don’t mention anything about the knife sharpening until after I’ve committed to buying a stupid winter squash cutting knife.
Yes, there is such a thing as a squash cutting knife. It now resides in my gadget drawer in all it’s serrated glory just begging me to buy all.the.squash every winter so I can justify it’s $125 price tag. This pasta is the start of many a butternut to be cut in my kitchen this winter.
Pasta is the perfect weeknight meal when you need dinner in a pinch but when I make it the basis for a meal I always feel compelled to get as many veggies in as possible. This pasta uses an entire butternut squash for the sauce and puts marinara to shame. It’s creamy and delicious and it’s all from a vegetable! Pasta Fits asked me to come up with a recipe that fits into a healthy diet, a busy lifestyle and a tight budget. I’d say our bases are covered with this one! October is National Pasta Month so get your squash knife out and give this one a try.
- 1 pound whole wheat orecchiette pasta
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 1 pound baby bellas/crimini mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 shallot, chopped
- ½ tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ cup chicken broth
- ¼ cup heavy cream (or any kind of milk)
- salt & pepper to taste
- Place the butternut squash in a large stock pot filled with water and bring to a boil.
- Boil the squash for about 10 minutes until fork tender.
- While squash is boiling, melt the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add the shallots, cook for about 1 minute and then add the mushrooms and sage.
- Let cook for about 10 minutes until the mushrooms have given off all their water and start to caramelize. Once that happens, turn the heat off and set aside.
- Transfer the squash to a food processor, leaving the water in the pot.
- Bring the water back up to a boil and add the pasta.
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions (about 10 minutes for al dente orecchiette)
- While the pasta cooks, add the nutmeg, chicken broth, heavy cream and salt & pepper to the food processor and process until smooth and sauce-like. Depending on the size of your squash you might need a little more or less liquid, Just eye ball it until you get a sauce-like consistency.
- Drain the pasta once cooked, return the pasta to the pot add the butternut squash sauce and toss to combine.
- Once all the pasta is coated in the sauce, fold in the mushroom mixture.
- Serve immediately and garnish with fresh parmesan.
Check out the Pasta Presto Recipe Contest where you can share your healthy pasta recipe and get a chance to win $1,500!
*This is a compensated post sponsored by the National Pasta Association. All content and opinions are my own.