Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Butternut Squash and Pancetta Orecchiette

Recipe and picture from SpoonForkBacon.

I cooked, AGAIN!!! I've realized something.

I cook more when I DON'T have food in the house. If I have to go to the grocery store, then I might as well check out a recipe or two and actually MAKE something, you know?

I got back from my trip, immediately left for another, and came back to bowls full of air and emptiness in my kitchen.


I had half a butternut squash leftover from a recipe I made...eh...ok kind of a long time ago. But it wasn't moldy or smelly! My two tests. If it's 9 months past the expiration date but isn't smelly or moldy? Get in my face.

So, a couple things.

1) When I first glanced over this, I was all "Thyme! I totally have that left over, too!". Nope. I had sage left over, so I used that. I have ZERO regrets. It was great.

2) What I love about this type of pasta recipe is that you can pretty much chuck whatever amount of the "topping" ingredients that you have in there. My half a squash ended up being WAY more than the amount called for, I just tossed my whole thing of pancetta in there, I have no idea if it's anywhere near the amount it was supposed to be, AND I halved the actual pasta. I'm a fan of a large topping to pasta ratio.

On the good stuff.

And it was GOOD.

Serves 3 to 4
1 lb orecchiette pasta
3 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 ounces pancetta, diced (I used the package from Trader Joe's)
1 shallot, diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, peeled and diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2/3 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced
8 to 10 threads saffron
1 tablespoon minced thyme (....or sage)
2 teaspoons thinly sliced chives
2 egg yolks
1 cup pasta water
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano, plus more for garnish
salt and pepper to taste
1. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Once the water has been brought to a boil, add pasta and stir. Cook pasta until al dente, drain (reserving 3/4 cup pasta water), toss with 1/2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and set aside.
2. Pour 1 tablespoon of oil into a large sauté pan and place over medium-high heat. Add pancetta and sauté for 3 minutes. Drain pancetta onto paper towels and set aside.
3. Pour remaining oil to pan and sauté shallots for 1 minute. Add carrots, celery and garlic and continue to sauté for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Add the squash and continue to sauté for an additional 3 to 4 minutes.
5. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, stir in the saffron threads (I own saffron now! How fancy of me!!) and cook until the liquid has almost disappeared or until the squash has softened.
6. Return pancetta to the pan, with the vegetable mixture and stir in the orecchiette until well combined.
7. Reduce the heat to medium-low and gently fold in the herbs.
8. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and pasta water. Pour the mixture over the pasta and stir together. Sprinkle cheese over pasta and stir until just combined. Adjust seasonings and serve with extra pecorino sprinkled on top.
Egg yolk and pasta water sauce, you say? Huh? JUST DO IT, TRUST ME. I don't even know how, but it works. It works so so well. This was DELICIOUS. It was a pretty easy and quick dish to put together, too. 

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