Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Penne with Acorn Squash and Pancetta

I have a not so fun day ahead. For me, when times are dark, I take comfort in this song and a nice bowl of something warm and comforting doesn't hurt either. I bookmarked this recipe a while back because of the acorn squash. I have been cooking so much with butternut that I thought it would be a nice change. I finally got around to picking up the acorn squash at the farmers market the other day and I knew I wanted to try this recipe this week. It takes a bit of time so don't start it when you're really hungry, but definitely try it at some point. I didn't change the recipe too much from the original except I added some shallots and used less pancetta than was called for. I think the next time I make this (and there will definitely be a next time), I will puree the squash to make more of a smooth sauce. A bowl of this pasta, a warm blanket, a glass of wine and a favorite tv show are all I need to bring me back to a more positive place. And of course, this song:

Penne with Acorn Squash and Pancetta
(From The Kitchn)

Penne with Acorn Squash and Pancetta
serves 4

1 acorn squash
1 small head of garlic
1/2 pound penne
2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more for coating squash and garlic
4 ounces pancetta, diced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon chopped, fresh rosemary
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Slice the squash in half and remove the seeds with a spoon. Cut each half crosswise into wedges, about 1/2-inch thick. Toss the wedges with a splash of olive oil until coated, and spread on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper.

Slice the top off of the garlic head so that the tops of the cloves are exposed. Drizzle on a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and wrap in aluminum foil. Place on the edge of the baking sheet with the squash.

Bake the squash and garlic for about 30 minutes, turning the squash once, until it is soft and slightly caramelized. (Depending on how big the head of garlic is, it may take longer. Leave it in the oven while you peel and chop the squash.)

Allow the squash to cool slightly. In the meantime, bring a pot of salted water to boil (for the pasta). Then, peel each wedge of squash and cut into large chunks.

Heat the 2 teaspoons of olive oil over medium heat in a medium stock pot or large, wide sauce pan. Sauté the pancetta until most of the fat is rendered and the meat is crispy, about 15 minutes. About halfway through, cook the pasta.

When the pancetta is finished cooking, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the shallots to the pan and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the broth, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom. Stir in the rosemary and about four cloves of the roasted garlic, mashing them up in the liquid with the back of a spoon or spatula.

Add the chunks of squash and pancetta to the pan. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water, and add the pasta to the squash/pancetta mixture. Toss everything to coat, then stir in the Parmesan. Add a bit of the pasta water if the mixture seems too dry.

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Diana said...

That picture is beautiful, and I am loving the Ingrid Michaelson song! Today's a bit of a rough one for me too, and her voice is so calming!

Hope your stressful day is turning out okay!

Veronica said...

I like that you added Rosemary, I think the flavor combines so well with squash. Beautiful pictures!

Erica said...

Beautiful (the song and the food). Your photos keep getting better! What do you do for work now?

test it comm said...

That pasta looks good. I think that pureeing it would be a good idea.

Dee said...

I'm not sure we have acorn squash here, but I like the idea of pasta, a glass of wine and a favorite tv show :) Will have to give the blanket a miss because it's been quite humid despite the rain.

Do you think I could use pumpkin instead?

Esi said...

Thank you everyone for stopping by! It cheers me up to know you enjoy my posts.

Erica- I represent actors. I kinda hate it so we'll see how long that lasts. :)

Dee- I definitely think pumpkin or butternut squash would be good in this.

Heather said...

ohhh my, that looks good! i love acorn squash! and pancetta!

The Blonde Duck said...

I hope your day is better than you think!

Debbie said...

The acorn squash looks wonderful...love the song.