This recipe is going to surprise you with every bite! It epitomizes the endless rivalry between salty and sweet in classic Mediterranean style using pancetta and butternut squash. Add to that a little brown sugar, pinch of nutmeg, fresh garlic, shallot, chicken stock, and heavy cream and you’ve really got something everyone will love. With each plate, I topped the pasta with freshly torn parsley, freshly grated Parmigianino Reggiano cheese and toasted breadcrumbs!! In essence, each bite will have an unexpected crunch to juxtapose the creaminess of the sauce. All in all, this recipe is very Italian; make love, not war and let the rivalry of salty and sweet rest and enjoy a brief romance!!
This recipe wraps up my week-long pasta tour with DELVERDE pasta and Lucini Italia’s Premium Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I have loved each and every one of the recipes this week, but this one won by unanimous vote last weekend at our dinner party. We hosted some dear friends and family to taste-test all three recipes and help me decide which to send into the DELVERDE Dish Your Blog contest. Check back tomorrow in “Notes From The Kitchen” to learn more about the dinner party and view behind the scene pics. Thank you all for your support!! Keep your fingers crossed and enjoy the rest of the recipe…
Before you peel the squash, cut off the top and bottom. Take your time peeling the squash, mindful to take all of the skin off as well as any green that emerges beyond the skin. All you want to see is vibrant orange!!
Using a spoon, scoop out all of the seeds.
Using your hands and a wooden spoon, be sure to coat the squash with brown sugar and olive oil…don’t forget the pinch of salt and fresh nutmeg, too! In my house, we LOVE anything that sparkles, including this squash. It looks like jewels with the sugar and oil!
When you ask your Italian butcher for pancetta, let him/her know you are planning to dice it in a sauce and they will slice it for you.
Then, when you get home, all you have to do it the dicing
Be sure to let the pancetta really crisp up before you add the garlic and shallots. The flavor-locking key is in the crispiness!!! Then, add the garlic and shallots and remove from the heat as soon as you smell the aroma of garlic.
Turning your attention back to the squash, once you remove it from the oven, it’s time to puree. Trust me, this is so quick and simple. I like to use a simple hand blender. To every 1 1/2 cups of squash, add 1/2 cup of stock and puree for a few seconds; that’s it!!
Finally, all of the ingredients are ready to come together. Simply add the squash to the pancetta pot and stir, gently adding stock and cream.
I used DELVERDE Mezzi Rigatoni for this recipe. I love the product and it’s the perfect accompaniment to this sauce!!
I diced up some day-old Italian bread and toasted it in the oven at 350 for 7 minutes with a drizzle of olive oil. It makes great croutons and breadcrumbs all at once. After they cooled, I placed the croutons in a plastic bad and crushed them into breadcrumbs. Simple!
Top with the breadcrumbs, fresh parsley, and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Drizzle with quality Italian olive oil to finish. I used Lucini Italia’s Premium Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil; It has excellent flavor!!
Disclosure: “This recipe is posted as an entry in the Delverde DISH YOUR BLOG recipe contest to try to win a trip to NYC. Some entrants may have received free sample products in addition to the opportunity to compete for the prize.”