Nothing says fall like cool, crisp mornings, warm days and chilly evenings. The leaves are turning and falling and the food is catching up with the appropriate season. Dishes get warmer, heavier and more filling, as we prep to move into the cold weather season. Needless to say, it’s one of my many favorite reasons to love fall and subsequently, winter. Sweater weather, warm food and lots of baking commence at this time of year and this recipe is one to add to your collection. When we got an acorn squash in of food box, we weren’t quite sure what to do with it other than sit it on the windowsill so it would look pretty and fall-ish. But Will being the good cook he is, decided to look up what to do with one of these things on his go-to food website, The Kitchn. And of course it was there that he found inspiration.
You may wonder why on earth you would actually want to eat an acorn squash, especially after eating squash allllll summer long. But this has a different, slightly sweeter flavor and blends into the creamy pasta much nicer than a regular summer squash would (not that we’ve tried, but I’m just going to make an assumption here). This dish will warm the cockles of your heart and keep you wanting to go back for more, despite the fact that you’re full after the first bowl. Give it a shot and see what you think!
Cooking Notes: Will used bacon instead of pancetta. He also used mini shells instead of penne, asiago cheese instead of parmesan. He selected to do the 4-clove garlic link that was at end of original recipe, which is just included in our version of the recipe, here.
Acorn Squash Pasta (adapted from The Kitchn; serves 4)
1 acorn squash
4 cloves garlic
1/2 lb. mini shells
1/2 lb. bacon, diced
1/4 cup chicken or veggie stock
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup grated asiago cheese
Milk or cream, as needed
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the squash in half and remove the seeds with a spoon, a la pumpkin carving. Cut each half lengthwise into wedges, approximately 1/2-inch thick. Toss the wedges with some olive oil (until coated) and spread on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Set out a piece of foil, peel the 4 cloves of garlic and put them in the center; drizzle olive oil on top and sprinkle with S&P. Fold up the foil packet and seal tightly, then place on the baking sheet with the squash. Bake the garlic and squash together for about 30 minutes (maybe a smidge longer), turning the squash once. Allow them to bake until they are both soft and slightly caramelized – leave the garlic in longer if need be.
After the 30ish minutes are up, remove the squash and allow it to cool slightly. While cooling, bring a pot of water to a boil for your pasta. Once the squash is cooled, peel each wedge and cut into large chunks. Heat a stock pot up over medium heat and saute the bacon until crispy, about 15 minutes. While the bacon is sauteing, cook the pasta.
Once the bacon is done, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Deglaze the pan with the broth, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom. Stir in the rosemary and garlic, mashing them up in the liquid with the back of a spoon. Add the chunks of squash and bacon to the pan. Drain the pasta, then add the pasta to the squash mixture. Toss everything to coat, then stir in the asiago cheese. Add a bit of milk if the mixture seem to dry and enjoy!