A creamy, naturally vegan squash pasta sauce spiked with roasted garlic and chilli, topped with crispy bacon and sage pieces.
- 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
- 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.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a pan pf boiling salted water as per the packets instructions, and prepare the toppings.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Serve the pasta in warm bowls topped by the bacon and sage pieces, and a generous handful of parmesan shavings.