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Fettuccine squash carbonara is a comforting winter meal

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This comforting pasta dish is perfect for cold weather. And if you live in Bucks County, Pennsylvania (or many other places right now), it looks like we’re still in for quite a few more wintery days. This meal can be made in an hour, so it’s great for both snowy days at home or weeknight dinners.

While the traditional Italian carbonara gets its creaminess from a combination of eggs and cheese, this recipe doesn’t use any eggs at all. Instead, the acorn squash gives it a wonderful silky texture. Sage adds nice flavor, and the thin strips of bacon give a little crunch. The result is a rich, delicious dinner that looks elegant but is really quite easy. So while we’re all longing for warmer days ahead, it’s meals like this that make winter just a bit better.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 oz. smoked cured nitrate/nitrite-free bacon (Broadbent’s bought at Shady Brook Farm in Bucks County, PA used here)
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1 acorn squash (roughly 2 lbs.), peeled, seeded and cut in to 1/2" pieces
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 12 oz. fettuccine
  • 1/4 cup finely grated hard parmesan cheese, plus more to shave over each serving

Directions:

  • Add oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat.
  • Add bacon, reduce heat to medium, and cook until crisp (8-10 minutes), stirring occasionally.
  • Remove bacon and cut into match-stick sized slices.
  • Add squash, onion and garlic to skillet. Add a bit of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent (8-10 minutes).
  • Add broth and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer until the squash is soft and the liquid is reduced by half (15-20 minutes).
  • Let cool slightly, then use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and add 1/2 of the sage.
  • Add pasta to a large pot of salted boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente.
  • Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of cooking water.
  • Add the pasta and 1/4 cup of pasta water to the skillet with the squash puree. Cook over medium heat, tossing and adding more pasta water as needed, until the sauce evenly coats the pasta (about 2 minutes).
  • Mix in parmesan cheese and add more salt and pepper as desired.
  • Serve pasta topped with a sprinkling of bacon, sage and shaved parmesan cheese.
  • Makes approximately 4 servings.
  • (Recipe inspiration found here.)

Shopping tip: If you live in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, you can buy the bacon used in this recipe at Shady Brook Farm in Yardley. Alternatively, you can use your favorite brand of bacon or pancetta.

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