Sunday, January 10, 2010

Roasted Squash Pasta with Browned Butter and Walnuts- Dark Day Challenge

Every once in a while things just magically come together in the kitchen. This recipe was one of those magical moments. I had received a beautiful bag of homegrown walnuts from friends, and I was afraid that they would go to waste. I can only eat a few nuts, whether almonds, walnuts or cashews at a time due to my one-and-only very slight food allergy.

My homegrown, giant squash was next in line to be eaten. I don't know about you, but it is the largest squash I have ever seen. I think it is called a banana squash. It weighed about 20 pounds and took a large butch knife swung at full force to crack open. If I had had a axe, it would have come in handy last night. Needless to say, this squash would have made the recipe 6 times over.

To save time or if you don't have a stash of squash sitting around, a bag of cubed butternut would be perfect. Another time saver would be an actual nut cracker, or just a bag of preshelled nuts. (But then they wouldn't be quite as special!)

This first time I made this I dirtied 6 pans! My dish washing husband protested! I had to figure out how to make it simpler. Now all the ingredients are roasted on a cookie sheet, the pasta boiled in one pot, and a pat of butter is browned in a small frying pan. Three dirty dishes isn't too many for this delicious pasta.

You can reduce the butter or bacon in the dish to make it a little lighter. Reserve some of the pasta cooking water to moisten the sauce.
Roasted Squash Pasta with Browned Butter and Walnuts
4 cups cubed hard squash, such as butternut or banana
1 large onion, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
2 sliced of thick cut bacon, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces. (I used apple smoked)
black pepper
a small pinch of red chili flakes
1/3 - 1/2 cup shelled walnut pieces
1 pound spaghetti
1-2 tablespoons butter

1. Heat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Spread squash, onions, and bacon onto a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt, black pepper and chili flakes.
3. Roast 20-30 minutes. Check and stir every 10 minutes. (Depending on your oven it may all be brown and fragrant in 15 minutes. )
4. While squash is roasting boil spaghetti according to directions, but before you drain the pasta reserve a small cup of cooking liquid.
5. When the bacon is crisp, the squash browned and the onion soft turn off oven heat and toss walnuts onto cookie sheet. Stir. Keep warm while spaghetti finishes cooking.
6. In the last minutes of the pasta cooking, melt a tablespoon or two of butter. Swirl over the heat until the butter smells nutty and begins to turn brown. Immediately take off the heat.
7. In a large serving bowl toss squash, bacon, etc with the pasta and browned butter. Add a few dashes of pasta water.

Serve immediately!
PS. Hi! I have a 30th follower. Welcome, you have totally made my day :)


  1. things, unfortunately, RARELY come together in the kitchen like that for me!

    i love all of the ingredients in this dish... can't wait to try.


  2. This looks fabulous - I have some home grown squash to use up too - but of the smaller no axe needed variety

  3. I wonder why William and Sonoma doesn't sell kitchen axes? :)

  4. I think those are some great flavors going on in that dish. Nice way to use up the walnuts!

    Since you are using homegrown walnuts, would you like to enter this post in our Grow Your Own roundup this month? Full details at

  5. This really sounds fantastic. That squash is something else :-). I hope the two of you love squash. Blessings...Mary

  6. Thanks Mary and Nate!
    Mary - if you have any great squash recipes hidden on your site, please send them my way! :)

  7. wow that squash is huge and the meal looks delicious!

  8. That squash is amazing! I have never seen one that large.