Recipe: Creamy Squash Pasta with Crispy Bacon & Sage

This time last year I was stirring pans of risotto several evenings a week to bring you the perfect, one pan recipe for Creamy Butternut Squash Risotto (the recipe is in One Pan Pescatarian #ad but you can find it on the Stylist website here) recipe. However, this year since the beginning of squash season I’ve been working hard to nail the ultimate creamy squash pasta recipe, and I finally think I’ve nailed it.

A creamy, naturally vegan roasted garlic and chilli spiked sauce, topped off with crispy, salty bacon bits and aromatic sage shards, fried until crumbly in the fat you’ve rendered from cooking the bacon (with the option of simply frying some sage in olive oil instead if you want to keep this dish strictly veggie or vegan) – honestly, what more could you possibly want for an autumnal weeknight dinner?

Creamy Squash Pasta with Crispy Bacon & Sage
Creamy Squash Pasta with Crispy Bacon and Sage

I’ve used butternut squash here as it is the most commonly available seasonal culinary squash and while I personally have a love for fun, delicious and rare heirloom ingredients and varieties, but I want everyone to be able to pick up the ingredients for my recipes in an average British supermarket. However, use whatever seasonal squash you fancy here – I promise you will still make a delicious sauce. I for one know I’m going to be making this with a whole load of pumpkin over the next few weeks as I’ve got a carving tutorial to shoot for you all the next time it is not raining, an I got a couple in case of screw ups!

My friend Gem recently shared some frankly shaming statistics about Halloween pumpkin waste the other day, so please, yes carve a pumpkin for Halloween night, but the next day please save what you can to make a big bowl of this pasta, or some pumpkin soup?

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Creamy Squash Pasta with Crispy Bacon & Sage

  • Author: Rachel Phipps
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Cuisine: American

Description

A creamy, naturally vegan squash pasta sauce spiked with roasted garlic and chilli, topped with crispy bacon and sage pieces.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 300g (10 oz) autumn squash (I used butternut), cubed
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • generous pinch dried chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt
  • 200g (7 oz) penne pasta
  • 4 rashers streaky bacon
  • small handful fresh sage leaves
  • 110ml (1/2 cup) vegetable stock
  • fresh parmesan shavings, for serving 

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees (390 fahrenheit). Toss the cubed squash, garlic cloves (whole and still in their skins), chilli flakes together with the olive oil and a generous pinch of sea salt on a baking tray. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes until the squash is tender and browned on the bottom.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a pan pf boiling salted water as per the packets instructions, and prepare the toppings.
  3. Chop the bacon into small pieces and set in a small, cold non-stick frying pan. Place the pan over a high heat and cook for 4-5 minutes or so until the bacon is crispy and the fat has rendered out. Remove the bacon pieces from the heat with a slotted spoon – transferring them onto a kitchen towel lined plate to drain away any excess fat – and reduce the heat to medium. 
  4. Fry the sage leaves until just crisp (keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn) in the bacon fat before transferring them to the paper lined plate. Alternatively, simply fry the sage leaves in more olive oil for a vegan option. 
  5. Transfer the roasted squash into the body of a bullet blender, squeezing in the now roasted garlic out of its skin, and add the stock along with 1/4 tsp more of sea salt. Blitz until smooth – depending on the power of your blender, you may need to add a little pasta cooking water to achieve this.
  6. Drain the pasta reserving about half a mug full of pasta water before returning it the the saucepan along with the squash sauce. Return the pan to a medium heat and stir in the sauce over the heat until everything is warmed through, and the sauce is glossy and clinging to the pasta – again, add more of the reserved pasta water if necessary. 
  7. Serve the pasta in warm bowls topped by the bacon and sage pieces, and a generous handful of parmesan shavings. 

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