Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Butternut Carbonara with Sage

The usual carbonara sauce is comfort food at it's finest ... and perhaps unhealthiest. The usual is full of eggs (not so bad), cream (well, now you're talking), and gooey with loads of melted cheese (hmmm, just tipped the unhealthy scale), and topped with pancetta or bacon (ok, we're over the top). This recipe looks similar, being a light golden color, but is instead full of squash, with stock to thin it out a bit, and sage plus a small amount of Parmesan to give it a punch. I've tried to take a photo of the finished product several times, but this is so good that I can't seem to make enough for leftovers!


1 tsp butter
12 sage leaves, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed about 2 cups
3 spring onions, or 1 onion, chopped, about 1/2 cup
1 clove garlic, minced, about 1 tsp
2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup more stock or soy or almond creamer
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
12 oz whole grain pasta, cooked until al dente


Bring a large pot of water to a boil, this will be for your pasta. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sage leaves, stirring until they begin to crisp. Remove the sage leaves and set aside. Add the olive oil, along with the butternut squash, onions, and garlic. Cook a minute or so, until the onions begin to turn color. Add the vegetable stock and cook until the butternut squash is tender, about 20 minutes. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions. Check for doneness, then drain the pasta in a colander. Check the squash for doneness by piercing with a fork, or just pop a cube in your mouth and see if it is done. Add the squash mixture, along with the extra stock or creamer to a blender. Cover the blender (the mixture will be hot, so be sure to cover it), and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, if needed.  Pour the cooked pasta into the skillet you used to cook the squash. Pour the sauce over the pasta, and stir. To serve, top each serving with some of the cooked sage leaves, a teaspoon of grated Parmesan, and a small pinch of sea salt.

Stealthy Cooking Tip: Here's a good recipe to use an artisan sea salt. I used Hawaiian sea salt. Whatever kind of sea salt you use on top, it will give added crunch, saltiness, and interest to the pasta dish without adding tons of sodium. 

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