Bucatini with Butternut Sqash, Bacon & Sage

bucatini-with-squash-2

“Life is a combination of magic and pasta.”
Federico Fellini

I’ve been trying to get this wonderful fall pasta dish made for 3 days and finally we had it for dinner last night it is definitely a make again dish and rather easy to get together once you are prepped and ready to go.  I loved the fried sage and had totally forgotten what a tasty crispy addition it can be.  I even went the lazy route and bout the peeled and cubed butternut squash (my only choice at the store) and a big bag of cut up kale saved me time in the prep department.  I’m sure that you can substitute cubed pancetta for the bacon and now you can find little packages of it in the deli department, another time saver, but I went with what I had and that was bacon…Murphy enjoyed a little nibble he’s my meat lover cat, Noah is the seafood lover.
A very adaptable recipe as far as fall greens and squashes go, so give it a try for a hearty fall/winter dinner.

Bucatini with Bacon, Kale and Winter Squash slightly adapted from Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen

For the fried sage
1/4 cup  olive oil
8 to 10 fresh sage leaves

1 butternut squash cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
12 oz. bucatini
3 oz. bacon or pancetta, diced
1 large shallot, sliced into 1/8-inch rings
1 bunch Tuscan kale, stemmed and leaves cut crosswise into 1/4-inch (3-mm) ribbons
4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup  white wine
2 fresh sage leaves
1 Tbs. heavy cream
2 Tbs. pine nuts, toasted
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for serving

To fry the sage leaves, in a small sauté pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil until shimmering.
Carefully drop the sage leaves, a few at a time, into the oil. They will sizzle and crisp very quickly, in 15 to 30 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the fried sage leaves to a paper towel–lined plate.
Toss the squash with the olive oil, 2 tsp. salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Spread the squash in a single layer on a roasting pan and roast until tender, about 25 minutes.

While the squash is roasting, bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta.

 In a sauté pan large enough to accommodate the pasta and squash later, cook the bacon over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the fat is rendered and the bacon/pancetta is crispy, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel–lined plate, leaving the bacon fat in the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the shallot to the pan and cook until translucent and tender, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium, add the kale, 1/2 tsp. salt and 2 Tbs. water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is wilted, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl.

In the same pan, warm the butter until melted. Add the garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper, and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the wine and sage leaves to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the liquid is slightly thickened, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove the sage leaves from the pan and discard. Stir in the cream and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the squash, bacon, kale mixture and cooked pasta to the pan and toss until well combined, warming the mixture over medium heat if the vegetables are no longer warm.

Transfer the pasta to a serving dish and garnish with the fried sage and pine nuts. Serve immediately, passing the cheese at the table. Serves 4.