Pasta Aglio Olio With Butternut Squash
Stubborn butternut squash often resists being peeled or even cut. Its eventual smooth sweetness is worth it, but what if you could skip the whole having-to-be-patient part? By sautéeing a big pile of grated butternut squash, you’re on the fast-track to tender squash. From there, you need only some spice, garlic and oil to turn it into a belly-warming pasta sauce that's equally at home spooned onto warm or room-temperature grains — or on its own as a kind of squash purée. But don’t think you’re making baby food: This is a sophisticated pasta, silky but still has some bite, a sneaky heat and brightness from lemony nuts on top, which may just be the dish's secret star.
- Serves: 4 persons
- ½cup roughly chopped, toasted nuts (preferably hazelnuts, almonds or pecans)
- 2tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about half a lemon)
- ¾cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1pound cavatappi or other curly pasta
- 5garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- ½teaspoon chile flakes
- 5packed cups butternut squash, from 1 (2-pound) squash, peeled and grated using the large holes on a box grater or food processor
Step 1Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the nuts, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon olive oil, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Step 2Once the water’s boiling, add the pasta and cook until al dente according to package directions. As the pasta cooks, make the sauce: In a sauté pan or skillet large enough to hold all the pasta, cook 3/4 cup olive oil, garlic and chile flakes over medium heat until the garlic turns blond, about 2 minutes, adjusting heat as needed to avoid burning.
Step 3Add the squash and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally and pressing down on the mixture so it steams, until softened, about 5 minutes. Remove 1 cup of water from the pasta pot. Add 3/4 cup of the pasta water to the sauce, and let simmer until the water evaporates and a glossy sauce forms, about 2 minutes. Turn the heat to low.
Step 4When the pasta is done, drain and immediately dump it into the sauce, tossing to coat. Adjust with salt, pepper and remaining pasta water. Serve with the nuts on top.