Butternut Squash Carbonara with Crispy Pancetta and Sage

I LOVE butternut squash. It's one of the best things about fall and winter. I've made it into sauces before, but this just takes it to a whole new level! Carbonara is a rich, velvety pasta dish, and the butternut squash adds something special. This is perfect for cold fall and winter nights. You will need:

  • 2tablespoonsolive oil
  • 4oz. pancetta (Italian bacon), chopped
  • 1tablespoonfinely chopped fresh sage
  • 4-6 whole sage leaves (optional, for frying)
  • 3 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into ½” pieces
  • 1small red onion, chopped
  • 3 clovesgarlic chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2cupslow-sodium chicken or veggie broth
  • 12oz. gluten free pasta
  • ¼cupfinely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pancetta, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp about 8–10 minutes.

Add sage and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pancetta and sage to a small bowl; set aside.

In small pan, add enough oil to cover the bottom and heat over medium high. Add the full sage leaves and fry until crisp. Remove carefully, they will be delicate, and let dry on a paper towel.

Add squash, onion, and garlic to skillet used to cook pancetta; season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, 8–10 minutes on medium high heat. Add broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until squash is soft and liquid is reduced by half, 20-30 minutes. Let cool slightly, then purée in a blender until smooth; season with salt and pepper. Save the skillet for later.

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.

Combine pasta, squash purée, and ¼ cup pasta cooking liquid in reserved skillet and cook over medium heat, tossing and adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until sauce coats pasta, about 2 minutes. Mix in ¼ cup cheese; season with salt and pepper.

Serve pasta topped with crispy pancetta and sage, cheese, and more pepper. Use the crispy sage leaves as a garnish.

This makes a ton of sauce, so save some for leftovers or experiment with it!