Hello, ladies and gentlemen. I’m extremely honored and humbled to be here today, accepting the prestigious Totally-Made-Up Tickle Their Tastebuds Award for my accomplishment of converting two picky adult-males into squash and unusual cheese eaters. Many said that it could not be done. Some alleged that my 30 Minute Creamy Butternut Squash with Crispy Sage recipe wouldn’t fool anyone. But through hard work and perseverance, I was able to achieve the impossible. Please hold your applause. I’d like to thank my boyfriend, James, for begrudgingly broadening his culinary horizons, and my roommate, Mike, for agreeing to eat anything that vaguely resembles mac ‘n cheese. This wouldn’t have been possible without you.
Clearly I’m pretty pleased with myself today, I won’t deny it. I know that it gets a bit exhausting to read posts about a food blogger who was able to convert her friend / husband / cat into an [insert controversial ingredient here]-lover again and again, but you know what? I’m going to gloat about it anyway. It’s always such a great feeling to make something delicious that everyone in your house devours. Especially if you didn’t expect it.
Now, I knew that I would love this pasta. The sauce is creamy, cheesy (from both goat cheese and parmesan), tangy, sweet, nutty, and delicate. The quick pan-fried sage is crispy, warm, and woodsy. It’s one of those recipes that really makes you feel immersed in Fall, and it’s easy to make, to boot. In other words, it was right up my alley. But the guys? I figured that’d be a hard sell, for sure.
Then they went ahead and ate huge bowlfuls, though, so I guess what do I know?
Perhaps you’ll have the same luck with the picky eaters in your life, if you have ’em. Or, you know, you could always just make this butternut squash pasta all for yourself. Is it bad for me to admit that, while I was glad the guys enjoyed it, I was also kind of bummed that they ate so much that there weren’t any leftovers for me to eat for lunch?
Although I suppose that, given 30 minutes, I could have just whipped together another skillet-full.
I’ll tell you how I do it.
First, I add a little oil to my skillet and let it get hot. Then, I toss in a few sage leaves at a time and let them fry very briefly– just a few seconds will do the trick. At that point, they’re crisp and lightly browned, so I remove them from the oil and hit them with some salt.
I should have taken a picture of the sage leaves by themselves because they’re so lovely, I know, but I was trying to time myself to see how long this recipe would take from start to finish, so please forgive me. Pretty please.
Anyway, with those set aside, I put a large pot of water over high heat, which I cook the pasta in when it’s come to a boil. While I wait, I saute up onion and garlic, add in cubed butternut squash and dried thyme, and cover it all with chicken broth. The squash should cook until it’s super tender, so that it will break down easily when pureed.
Then, I add the squash mixture to my food processor, along with the goat cheese, which will melt into the mixture. I pour in as much of the milk as I can fit, and reserve the rest for mixing into the pan. We don’t want any of that precious sauce overflowing, of course.
I guess that makes it pretty obvious what I do next– pour that squash mixture back into my pan, add in any leftover milk, and add in the parmesan cheese and salt, to taste. I mix it all up until well-combined, and then stir in the pasta. Once the sauce is coating all of the noodles, it’s ready to serve.
I like to serve mine in big bowls, along with some additional parmesan cheese and those crispy sage leaves sprinkled on top. And then we all dig in.
Yup, that’s James, about to eat butternut squash pasta. Put it in the record books, boys.
By the way, when you make this 30 Minute Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta with
- 1 small bunch fresh sage
- 1⁄4 cup olive oil
- Sea salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 20 ounces (about 2½ cups) butternut squash cubes
- ¾ cup low sodium chicken stock
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- ¾ cup milk
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more to top
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 pound pasta of choice, cooked
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add a few sage leaves at a time to the oil and fry for just a few seconds, until crisp and just beginning to brown along the edges. Use a fork to transfer the sage leaves to a paper-towel lined plate and sprinkle with sea salt. Discard of excess oil.
- Melt the butter in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the onion and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add in the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Mix in the butternut squash cubes and dried thyme, and pour over the chicken stock. Cover and cook until the squash has softened, about 10 minutes.
- Transfer the squash mixture to a food processor along with the goat cheese. Pour over half of the milk, or as much as can fit in the food processor without risking overflow. Process until smooth.
- Return the butternut squash sauce to the pan and add in the remaining milk, parmesan cheese, and salt, to taste. Cook, stirring often, until fully heated. Mix in the pasta.
- Serve warm with additional parmesan cheese and the crispy sage leaves.
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