CSA: Week 15, the best fall pasta you will make this year

Sigh, the recipe in the post has nothing to do with any of the veggies I received that week. But here they are, for the record:

-1 pound potatoes
-1 pound carrots (STOP THE MADNESS)
-1 acorn squash (with unnoticed damage; it rotted within a week, agh!)
-1 bunch purple basil
-1 head lettuce
-1 pound peppers
-3 asian pears
-2 hot chilis
-1 head garlic

Ok, The Best Pasta. We got delicata squash a couple times in a row, and I was reminded of the pizza I made with it last fall, with walnuts and other lovely things. But I didn’t feel like making pizza, and was leaning towards risotto or pasta until I saw this post on The Kitchn, suggesting a pasta dish with acorn squash and pancetta. It looked tasty, so I went with the pasta urge, though I didn’t follow that recipe. Instead, I made yet another absorption pasta, which even casual readers know I am obsessed with. First I got everything ready to go.

Delicata Absorption Pasta with Walnuts, Sage and Pancetta
For this I used about half of a 17 ounce bag, and it was three servings; it’s all very flexible
2 delicata squash (I used 1.5 in the pasta and reheated the other half the next night)
1 onion, diced
5 or 6 thin or 3 thicker slices of pancetta
A handful of walnuts
Sage leaves
Olive oil
Butter (to fry the sage)
Chicken stock (have 4 cups on hand; you probably won’t use nearly that much but better safe than sorry)
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese, for serving
(For those keeping score at home, the squash, onion, and sage were from the farm)

(Ignore the arugula in that photo. I decided against it.)

I cut and cleaned the delicata squash and rubbed them with a bit of oil, then roasted face down at 425 for about 20-30 minutes, until they were very tender. Meanwhile I heated some olive oil in the pot I’d be using for the pasta and browned the pancetta, rendering as much of the fat as I could (you need oil to brown pancetta, btw–it tends to turn grey, then burn if you do it dry; I think the fat doesn’t render out as fast as American bacon). I pulled it out when it was nice and crispy, then softened my chopped-up onion in the delicious combination of lard and oil in that pan. I am not being facetious; that is good stuff. See the lovely color from the pancetta??

I also toasted the walnuts in the toaster oven and managed to just barely scorch them.

I added the pasta in to the onions and oil, and did the usual absorption thing–add stock, cover for a while, stir, add stock, uncover, etc. I use the covering/uncovering depending on how much stock I have/how fast I want the pasta to cook/how much more liquid needs to boil away once the pasta is almost done.

While the pasta cooked I crumbled the pancetta and chopped up the squash and walnuts. The nice thing about delicata is that the skin is usually so tender you can eat it. Test a sliver and if it isn’t tough, chop the squash up skin and all!

I fried a few sage leaves from the farm in butter, because why not add a third fat source? The more the merrier!

Once the pasta was al dente, I stirred in the chopped squash and about 2/3 of the pancetta and walnuts, along with a couple of the sage leaves, crumbled. I adjusted for salt and pepper, then plated the pasta and topped with the remaining pancetta and walnuts, a little sprinkle of parmesan and a couple sage leaves.

And then I died.


Actually I revived myself after dinner to chop up 900 peppers for Ben, because holy crap, our entire fridge? Full of peppers. I cut up at least 6 of these, I think (I just enjoy these colors):

Ben ate them in one workday, so I guess I shouldn’t worry too much about extra peppers, after all.

10 thoughts on “CSA: Week 15, the best fall pasta you will make this year”

  1. That sounds delicious – I love the squash/sage combo. Also, I bet I could eat that entire bag of peppers too, especially if there was hummus…

    Do you think you’ll join the same CSA next year? I didn’t get my act together in time this year to join ANY, but I’ve heard Stillman’s is pretty good.

  2. I will absolutely join the same one; I’ve loved Stone Soup Farms and they have been really easy to deal with, good pickup location for me, tons of variety, manageable quantity in the half share… I think I looked into Stillman’s and they were sold out this year, but I’m glad I ended up with Stone Soup!

  3. Have you tried Al Dente Whole Wheat Fettuccine? From your style of cooking, it seems like a pasta that you would appreciate. May be available near you, but if not check out http://www.aldentepasta.com It cooks in just 3 minutes, has an amazing home-made texture. Their other varieties are great also. The Wild Mushroom Fettuccine—YUM

  4. Okay… this just looks crazy delicious! I became a diehard Kate F_ Girl Reporter fan after one of your posts on absorption pasta a looong time ago… it was the first time I made one of your recipes, and I fainted it was so good.
    I have collapsed in a fit of yummy so many times since then, after making something at your suggestion!
    If YOU died after making this, I plan to meet my maker as well … tomorrow, because I HAVE to make this ASAP! I am so mad I had dinner before I checked your blog!

  5. hey KFGR:

    In regard to the surfeit of peppers, do you & Ben have a grill basket? If so, you can slice up the peppers, brush them with oil, fire up the outdoor grill, and toss them around in the basket until they have scorch marks and are softened up. They take up less space in the fridge that way and of course are very delicious as a garnish to any meat, put on sandwiches, in risottos, you name it.

    Bon Appetit!

    Your fan, aka Dad

    p.s. we are working in the garden this weekend, dumping out all the pots and putting the outdoor furniture away for the winter.

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