The weather is finally starting to cool here in Chicago, I actually had reason to put on a turtleneck last week, and that excites me more than it probably should. My boyfriend made me watch a horror movie which, even more than the changing leaves or the brisk wind, signals that fall has arrived.
This past Saturday, I actually had a few hours to myself. I have been working crazy long hours between the design firm and the restaurant, so to be able to spend some quality time in the kitchen this weekend, was just what I needed. Up early, with the window open letting the chilly air and the sound of the rain into the kitchen, I, with my coffee in hand, spent the day making a giant pot of chowder, and an amazing pasta dish. It was the epitome of a perfect autumn morning, and it makes me look forward to many more to come.Unfortunately the temperature climbed back up near 80 Sunday and Monday, forcing me to put my turtlenecks and sweaters back into the closet, at least for the time being. This won't, however, stop me from cooking all things fall, I can tell you that much.
Lets talk about this pasta. This may be the best pasta dish I have ever made. At the very least, it's up there competing with the lasagna I made last winter. Rich, hearty, deep, cozy flavors, pungent cheese, creamy sauce, it really has it all. This was the perfect dish to usher in fall.
Homemade Tagliatelle with Brown Butter & Butternut Squash
1 batch homemade tagliatelle, or about 1 pound of any dried or fresh pasta
(click here for pasta recipe, instead of cutting into rectangular sheets, cut into 1 1/2-inch wide strips)
1 small-medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3-4 medium-large shallots, peeled and quartered
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon minced sage
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste
crumbled Gorgonzola and chopped parsley to garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the cubed squash and shallots with the olive oil, season generously with salt and pepper, and spread evenly on a silpat lined baking sheet. Roast on the middle rack for 45 minutes to 1 hour, flipping the squash a few times, until browned and starting to caramelize.
Transfer 1/2 of the squash and all of the shallots to a food processor, (set the remaining squash cubes aside) along with the heavy cream and pulse until you have a smooth paste. If needed, add additional hot water and process until sauce has thinned enough to be able to coat the pasta. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the fresh pasta for 4-5 minutes, or until just al dente.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter and cook for a few minutes until just starting to brown. Add the sage and fry for about a minute, stirring, until butter has turned a amber brown, and sage is fragrant. Reduce heat to medium-low and whisk in the squash puree to combine with the browned butter.
When the pasta is cooked, transfer directly from water to the skillet with the squash sauce and toss to combine. If sauce seems very thick or clumpy, add pasta water by the 1/4 cupfuls until sauce has evenly coated the pasta. Toss in the reserved cubed butternut squash, transfer to individual serving bowls and top with a generous amount of crumbled Gorgonzola cheese and fresh parsley.
Please make this sometime, but invite friends over to eat it with you. The reheated leftovers, while still very good, were much more dry and lacking that silky smooth texture that the sauce had when it was fresh from the skillet. Try it with a pumpkin beer for the full fall effect.