Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Creamy Butternut Pumpkin "Carbonara" from Cookie and Kate

In all honesty, I promised myself my next blog post on here would have been about my birthday, my amazing family & partner and how they went out of their way to make my day super special, but then I made this and I decided that people needed to know about this witchcraft first!
Is it pumpkin soup? Is it pasta? It's creamy pumpkin "carbonara" with smoky fried sage!

For the new players, I am one of the basquillion people on earth who are lactose intolerant. Unfortunately for me, being vegan didn't work out so well in the end, and while I lead a mainly dairy free life (being able to tolerate small amounts of some cheeses), I do find myself pining over gorgeous, comforting creamy pastas even though they make my belly grumble in rebellion and have me balled up in farty agony hours after eating.
I love soy milk, but I really just don't like cream/cheese alternatives (and neither does Alex, for that matter) so I just avoid the whole shebang and miss out on fun on both sides of the fence. So you can imagine, when I stumbled across this recipe, featured on the Vegan Foody's tumblr (well worth a peruse if you're on that site and keen for some dinner ideas) I couldn't BELIEVE there was not a drop of cream or cheese used in this beautiful, creamy, glossy sauce. No cream, no alternatives, it's pure vegetable power!

All credit to Cookie and Kate for this recipe, it's so amazing, I just had to share with y'all!

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
  • 2 pound butternut or kabocha squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into small ½-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed or chopped
  • ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes (up to ¼ teaspoon for spicier pasta sauce)
  • Sea salt and/or kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 12 ounces whole grain linguine or fettucine (Z: all I had in the house was spaghetti, whoops!)
  • Optional additional garnishes: shaved Parmesan or Pecorino or goats cheese and/or smoked salt
  1. Heat oil in a large (read: 12 inch) pan over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the sage and toss to coat. Let the sage get crispy before transferring it to a small bowl. Sprinkle it lightly with sea salt and set the bowl aside.
  2. Add squash, onion, garlic and red pepper flakes to skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until squash is soft and liquid is reduced by half, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.
  4. Once the squash mixture is done cooking, remove it from heat and let it cool slightly. Transfer the contents of the pan to a blender. Reserve the pan. Purée the mixture until smooth (beware of hot steam escaping from the top of the blender), then season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Combine pasta, squash purée and ¼ cup cooking liquid in reserved pan and cook over medium heat, tossing and adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until sauce coats pasta, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if necessary.
  6. Serve pasta topped with fried sage, more black pepper and shaved Parmesan/Pecorino and/or smoked salt, if desired.
  • Adapted from Bon Appetit’s Winter Squash Carbonara with Pancetta and Sage (February 2014).
  • Recipe yields 4 large servings.
  • The squash purée is a killer bisque, which you could thin with vegetable broth if you’d like. You could also stir it into risotto at the end of cooking.
  • Make it gluten-free: use gluten-free pasta.

I actually cannot believe how gorgeous and creamy and thick and saucy and.. Perfect this sauce is! I served mine with a little crumbled goats cheese on top, it really brought out the subtle sweetness of the butternut, but omitting the cheese would make it a totally vegan recipe! If you were feeling ultra luxe, you could even stir some butter or cream into the sauce while combining it with the pasta, but I think the texture is luscious as is.
It would be delicious with vegetables added, like fresh peas, broccoli or mushrooms, but on its own its a perfectly satisfying meal, like a snuggly blanket for your tummy! Do have a look through Cookie & Kate's blog for more amazing recipes, and give this one a go; I promise it is as delicious as it looks!

Thanks for reading!