Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Pasta e Zucca

I was watching Giada di Laurentiis's huge forehead on T.V. and she was at this restaurant in Capri where the chef made a pasta e zucca, which translates to pasta with squash. I immediately looked for the recipe online and all I could find--in English--was one from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food. Go figure!

Anyhoo, this recipe makes about 4 cups of sauce. I halved the recipe because I wasn't sure if I was going to like it. And, although it was good, I felt it was too much work just for a simple pasta sauce. You can toss the pasta sauce over rigatoni or over cheese ravioli. Also, I tweaked my recipe by adding a pinch of curry to my squash puree and just a touch of freshly grated nutmeg to the tossed pasta.


  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 cup half-and-half

  • Pasta (such as rigatoni, or cheese ravioli or any short pasta), for serving
  • Toppings, such a toasted walnuts, pine nuts or fried sage leaves (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Using a large, sharp knife, trim the squash ends, then halve the squash crosswise to separate the bulb from the neck. Peel with a vegetable peeler. Cut both pieces in half lengthwise. With a spoon, scoop out seeds; discard.
  2. Cut squash into 2-inch chunks. Transfer to a small rimmed baking sheet. Toss with oil and sage. Season generously with salt and pepper. Scatter garlic around squash. Roast until squash is very tender, about 40 minutes, tossing once halfway through. Remove and discard skin from garlic.
  3. Transfer squash and garlic to a food processor. Puree. With motor running, add half-and-half through the feed tube; process until smooth. Add 1 to 2 cups water. Continue to process until smooth, adding water to thin if necessary--you want the same consistency as a regular tomato sauce. Taste and season more, if necessary.
  4. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water. Drain pasta and return to pot. Pour sauce over pasta; toss to coat. Add some pasta water to thin sauce if necessary. Serve with desired toppings and Parmesan cheese.

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