Rotini with Butternut-Sage Sauce
by Alexandra Stafford of Alexandra’s Kitchen
This recipe takes no time to throw together. After butter infuses with fresh sage, which immediately evokes the approaching holiday season, cubes of butternut squash simmer with onion and water. In no time, the squash is ready to be puréed and tossed with rotini, some freshly grated Parmesan and a sprinkling of nutmeg.
Every time I make this pasta I am astounded by its simplicity. Without stock or cream, this silky smooth sauce tastes rich and creamy, evidence of the union of squash, butter and sage. Tailor this recipe to your liking or make it just as it is — it’s perfect this time of year.
Recipe: Rotini with Butternut-Sage Sauce
Adapted from Gourmet
1 lb (about) peeled butternut squash pieces
1 small onion, diced
4 tbsp unsalted butter
A small bunch of fresh sage, unchopped
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for serving
1 lb rotini
Heat butter in a 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat until foam subsides, then add the bundle of sage and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add cubed squash, diced onion, water, salt and pepper and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until squash is very tender and water has reduced considerably, about 10 to 15 minutes depending on the size of the squash pieces.
Extract what is left of the bundle you added to the pot — a few small leaves remaining in the squash mixture is fine. If you have an emersion blender, purée mixture right in pot. If you don’t, transfer mixture to a food processor or blender and purée until smooth. Add a grating of fresh nutmeg, if you’d like. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If it is too thin, simmer over low heat until it thickens.
While squash mixture simmers, cook pasta in a 6-quart pot of boiling salted water with a large pinch of kosher salt until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water, then drain pasta in a colander.
Place pasta in a serving bowl. Toss with enough butternut-sage sauce to coat nicely. If necessary, add a little bit of the reserved cooking water to thin it out. Serve pasta with cheese. If you have extra sauce, store it in the fridge for a later date. The sauce thickens as it sits, so on subsequent uses, it will most likely be necessary to use the reserved cooking liquid to thin out.
Thank you so much, Alexandra! This pasta looks amazing.