Penne with Winter Squash and Fried Sage

Straight forward, quick to prepare and yummy, this make again meal warms the belly with its combination of flavours and a little bit of heat from the red pepper flakes. You could easily make this spicier by adding more red pepper flakes. Adjust based on your preference for heat. The recipe is vegetarian but could be made vegan by substituting the Parmesan cheese for Vegan Parmesan Cheese (see Other Yummy Stuff). I made it with sweet potatoes which worked out quite nicely. Either way, it makes a great meal paired with a side salad.

With thanks to Ivy Manning of the Weeknight Vegetarian cookbook

Makes 4 servings

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Ingredients:
3 Tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 cup (1/3oz, 10g) Fresh Sage Leaves (about 25 large leaves), packed
2 1/4 lb (about 1 kg) Butternut, Hubbard or acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4 inch (2 cm) cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp Garlic, finely chopped
1 cup (8 fl oz, 250 ml) Vegetable broth
1 pinch Red Pepper Flakes
3/4 lb (375 g) Penne pasta
1/3 cup (1 1/3 oz, 40 g) Parmesan cheese, grated (or Vegan Parmesan Cheese)
4 tsp Lemon juice
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, fry the sage leaves until crisp and beginning to brown, 3 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the leaves to a paper towel-lined plate.
  2. Add the squash to the pan with the sage oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring once, until the squash begins to caramelize, 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, push the squash aside a bit, and add the garlic; sauté the garlic until fragrant, 20 seconds. Add the broth an d red pepper flakes, cover and simmer until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente according to package instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup (4 fl oz, 125 ml) of the cooking water and drain the pasta. Transfer the pasta to the pan with the squash along with the cheese and lemon juice. Stir gently to combine, adding the reserved pasta cooking water 1 Tbsp at a time if needed to moisten the mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Crumble the fried sage leaves over the top and serve.

Ivy’s tip:

Not keen on prepping winter squash? Buy pre-diced and peeled butternut squash from the produce department of the grocery store. You may need to cut the chunks into smaller, bite-sized pieces. Just don’t be tempted to use frozen squash here: It’ll turn to mush instantly.

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