Sunday, January 1, 2017

Winter Squash Carbonera

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit's.

This is the warm and comforting treat that is great for any cold winter day. I was motivated to explore different ways to work with winter squash when my CSA gave me so many acorn, kobucha, and butternut squashes I needed something new. I think that it's best with kobucha, but try it with whatever you have. This is not vegetarian, but I love how little meat is used to get so much flavor. I have been toying with what I could use instead of bacon though. If you have ideas, let me know!

Winter Squash Carbonera
serves 4
1 medium to large acorn or kobucha or other winter squash, peeled and diced into 1 inch pieces or so
1 small onion diced
2 slices of bacon or pancetta if you can get it, chopped
2 cloves of garlic
Salt to taste
2 cups of vegetable broth
12 oz of spaghetti
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 teaspoon chili flakes
up to 1 cup starchy pasta water

Put on a pot of water to boil for pasta.
Cook the bacon in a large skillet until cooked through and to your desired crispness. For me this was about 12 minutes, but this wasn't particularly crispy. Leave all of the fat in the pan, but remove meat. Add onion to the bacon fat coated pan and saute until translucent before adding garlic for 1 minute and then the squash. Add a generous sprinkle of salt over the squash, chili flakes and broth before cooking uncovered stirring every so often so the squash doesn't brown, but cooks until soft and the liquid has been reduced by 2/3 (this took me about 25 minutes).
While the squash is cooking, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook to your preferred texture (don't forget to save the starchy water!).
Add the squash mixture (including remaining liquid) to a blender and puree until smooth. A powerful blender is a real help with this.
Return the pureed mixture to the pan and assess thickness. Depending on the size of your squash and how liquidity you like your sauce, you'll add up to 1 full cup of starchy pasta water with cup of frozen or fresh peas and slowly stir to incorporate additional liquid into the sauce. Feel free to add even more pasta water (or even plain water) if the sauce is too thick.
Add spaghetti to sauce and serve with bacon bits you removed earlier sprinkled over the top. Enjoy!

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