It’s autumn in New England. Okay, so it’s autumn everywhere, but New England autumns are a Currier & Ives-type of beautiful. This is The Goddess’s time of year. There’s that little nip in the air, but no frost on the shrinking, post-Halloween pumpkins just yet. The flavors of fall are big, bold flavors. This sauce is a perfect mid-week sauce, but why wait? This is a simple and simply delicious sauce. I prepared in on top of the stove. You could absolutely roast the squash in the oven, but I wasn’t feeling that cold! It’s redolent with garlic and shallots. I’ve taken to slicing garlic these days. I like biting into a tender, sweet bit of garlic.
I have a confession. It’s the first in probably 40 years, but here it is. I cheated. I usually make the béchamel, but this time I used a box of Pomi® Alfredo Sauce. I don’t think it’s quite as good as the béchamel, but it’s good and it’s quick. I like to have a box on hand for just those times when you’re bone-tired, or you’re out of milk. Hey, it happens. After tasting the sauce, I decided it needed some herbiness. And since I have a huge patch of sage in the garden, and I like sage with winter squash, I added a bit. I think it’s pretty easy for sage to over-power other flavors, so I tossed in just a bit, for a mere hint of herbiness.
I dumped the slightly under-cooked pasta into the pot. Now, we’re not talking about al dente. No…this isn’t there yet. I like to under-cook the pasta, then let it finish cooking in the sauce. Pour the whole thing into a bowl and top with some smokey, crispy bacon and if you have it (I didn’t), some crumbled bleu cheese. Enjoy!
Butternut-Bacon Cream Sauce with Sage
- 1 lb bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 cups diced winter squash (about 1/2-inch cubes)
- 1/2 cup minced shallots
- 3-5 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced (or minced)
- 1/2-3/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 1/2 cups medium béchamel sauce (see NOTE)
- 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey)
- 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sage leaves, cut into chiffonade
- Pasta, cooked as directed (I used whole wheat penne regate)
- Salt (you’ll need more than you think)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Bleu cheese (optional)
Cook the bacon pieces in a large skillet over medium heat until they are crisp. Remove them to paper towels; drain and set aside. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat from the pan. Add the squash and set the pan over medium heat. Cook, tossing (or stirring) the pieces now and then, until they begin to brown, about 5-6 minutes. They should not be completely tender. Add the shallots and garlic; toss to coat with some of the oil and combine with the squash. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to just become slightly transparent. Deglaze the pan with the white wine; add the maple syrup and balsamic. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the sage and béchamel sauce. Bring to a simmer. Make certain to generously salt the pasta. Add the pasta to the sauce and simmer everything together for about 1-2 minutes. Taste and correct the seasoning. Pour into a large bowl or individual serving. Grind fresh pepper over, add the crumbled bacon and if you’re feeling like it, some crumbled bleu cheese. Serve immediately.
NOTE: You may, in a pinch, substitute Pomi® Alfredo Sauce for the bèchamel, if you wish.
Butternut-Bacon Cream Sauce with Sage Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2016. All rights reserved.
If you want this to be a truly one-dish meal, toss in some frozen peas with the pasta. It’s pretty and it completes the meal. Well, some good bread, would be nice, wouldn’t it? Yes, I think so.