As I was rifling through my cupboard the other day, I found this giant bag of pasta I had bought a million years ago at Eataly in downtown Chicago. It’s this amazing two story store that sells all sorts of imported Italian food products. When you step in, you’re surrounded by fresh bread and sausage and gelato and pizza—it’s wonderful. Anyway, they have the BEST pasta, so of course I needed to do something special with my package of Vesuvio. Fancy, right?
I decided to go with this butternut squash pasta, which is in my opinion the ultimate fall comfort food. I love using squash as a base because it creates a rich and creamy texture, without the heaviness of dairy based based sauces. The nutritional yeast and soy sauce really gives it that cheesy umami flavor too. It’s totally fine if you don’t have any high quality imported Italian pasta lying around, though I can’t imagine why, just make sure your shape of choice has lots of twists and crevices to carry that butternutty deliciousness to your tastebuds.
I know there’s quite a few ingredients, but this recipe is actually super simple and easy. It’s good the next day too. I’m not a huge fan of day old pasta, so just save some sauce in the fridge and make a fresh pot of pasta the next day.
• Ingredients •
1 16 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp thyme and/or rosemary, dried or fresh
1/2 tsp salt
1 butternut squash, cubed into 1 inch pieces
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Stalk of fresh rosemary
A few sprigs of thyme
3 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth if not vegan)
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
Olive oil as needed
3 tbsp sage leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
12 oz pasta of choice
• instructions •
1. For the crispy chickpeas, preheat the oven to 400 F. On a large sheet pan, place your drained chickpeas over a couple sheets of paper towel and gently roll around to remove moisture (this will make them crispy). Once dry, drizzle with olive oil, thyme and rosemary. Bake for about 25-30 min or until crispy.
2. As the chickpeas cook, start on the sauce. Heat olive oil in a large pot until shimmering then add in onions. Cook until translucent, about 8 min, stirring occasionally. Next, add in the garlic, rosemary stalk and thyme. Cook for about two min. more before adding in the cubes squash and broth. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium low and cover. Simmer for about 20 min or until squash has softened completely.
3. Meanwhile, begin heating a pot of water for your pasta, make sure you salt the boiling water heavily before adding in the pasta. Cook a couple minutes less than package instructions. Don’t throw away your pasta water! This stuff is liquid gold, you’ll need it later.
4. For the fried sage, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over a medium flame until shimmering. Using tongs, place sage leaves one at a time into the hot oil, pressing them down so they lie flat. Fry for about 1 min. each side then place on a paper towel to absorb excess oil. Sprinkle with salt immediately after frying and allow them to crisp up.
5. Once the squash is cooked through, drain excess liquid and purée in a blender, adding pasta water as needed. Then add soy sauce and nutritional yeast, blend until creamy. Taste for seasoning, you might need a pinch more salt. Pour your sauce over the drained pasta, adding more water if it seems dry. Bring to a boil and simmer until pasta is cooked through, probably another 1-2 minutes.
6. To serve, divide among four bowls and top with a handful of crispy chickpeas, fried sage leaves and freshly ground black pepper.