This seed-to-skin squash and sage pasta is peak comfort food
By Joe Yonan
Here's how to use almost every bit of a butternut squash in one satisfying recipe. First, you roast the cubed flesh, stripped peel and cleaned seeds.
Then you turn the flesh into a sauce for pasta, and the crunchy peel and seeds become a complementary garnish. To keep the dish vegan, use an egg-free pasta.
Seed-to-Skin Squash and Sage Pasta (Serves 6)
One (900g) organic butternut squash, well scrubbed and dried
1 large yellow onion, peeled and quartered
4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp fine sea salt, divided, plus more to taste
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided, plus more to taste
6 fresh sage leaves
1 cup canned coconut milk
2 tbs fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
2 cups lightly packed baby rocket
450g dried pappardelle, tagliatelle or other favourite pasta
Position two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 200ºC.
Using a sharp peeler, peel the squash in long strips. Cut the peels into 5cm pieces, then cut the pieces into very thin slices. Using a sharp knife, cut the squash in half lengthwise.
Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds and stringy pulp, transfer them to a small bowl of water, and separate the seeds from the pulp. Discard or compost the pulp, and transfer the seeds to a clean dish towel and dry them thoroughly.
Cut the squash flesh into 2.5cm cubes.
In a large bowl, toss the cubes with the onion, garlic, 1 tablespoon of the oil, the smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Transfer the mixture to a large, rimmed baking sheet in one layer and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the squash's edges begin to brown and the flesh is soft.
Meanwhile, in the same bowl, toss the sage leaves, squash seeds and peels with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Transfer them to a second rimmed baking sheet in one layer and roast for 10 to 15 minutes, tossing occasionally, until lightly crisped and golden brown. Transfer to a plate to cool.
When the squash cubes are tender, transfer the onion quarters to the bowl of a food processor. Squeeze the garlic out of its papers into the bowl and add ½ cup of the coconut milk. Purée until smooth. Add the remaining coconut milk, squash cubes, 3 of the roasted sage leaves and the lemon juice, and pulse a few times until thick but chunky. Taste, and add more salt, pepper and lemon, if needed. Transfer the sauce to a large serving bowl and add the rocket.
In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta according to the package instructions until al dente, then use tongs to transfer it to the serving bowl. Toss to combine.
Add the remaining sage leaves, roasted peels and seeds, and serve hot.