Can I say it’s winter yet?

Because I am saying that.

But wait. I shouldn’t. Mainly because it was close to 70 degrees [or something] the last few days. Have you ever seen Mean Girls? I know you have. Don’t lie. LiLo was at her PRIME. Anyway… remember Karen? Who swore that her… certain body part… could predict the weather? I’m totally picking up what Karen’s throwing down. Sort of. I mean, not that body part, but my body… in general. I haaaaaaate to be hot. I could add about 56,000 more “a’s” in that word just to distinctly convey my true feelings on the subject. I really love to be hot if I’m laying on the beach or right near a pool, but otherwise, I will become you worst enemy. So, as I was making dinner Monday night… in my workout clothes… because sometimes showering is overrated… I was getting HOT. I could just feel it. I rushed over to the thermostat to see that it was 74 degrees in our house. 74! This is huge and super hot for me considering I am adamant that the air conditioning stays at a crisp 67 degrees in summer, and that the heat doesn’t come on until I’m in two layers of pants and fourteen shirts. Seriously.

I am just such a JOY to live with. I know.

Needless to say, it’s been too hot for me to sleep the last few days. I’m such a nutcase that I can distinguish the comfort level between two degrees of temperature. I’ve tossed and turned. I’ve ripped layers of sheets off of myself because I must be covered up or else all the scary monsters will get me. I’ve become cold again around 3AM and flipped out because I have no covers. I’ve woken tired and restless and hot and cold.

And after all that, I just have to say that maybe it isn’t winter yet, but this pasta tastes like winter. Because I said so.

I didn’t even like pasta growing up. I dreaded Thursday nights because my mom made spaghetti or angel hair or penne with tomato sauce every.single.week, leaving me in the dust to either eat cereal, plain buttered noodles, or wallow up in my room blasting TLC’s Creep and organizing 310 Lip Smacker’s lip glosses. Some nights I chose the buttered noodle route, because I really love my bowl of parmesan cheese with a sprinkling of noodles. But most nights it was me, my boom box, and my mind trying to figure out what the Red Light Special was. I’m still not sure I know.


I’ve done a lot of crazy stuff in the kitchen this week: combining fruit with pasta, potatoes with cupcakes, and cookies with fish. Yes, I’m serious. No, I’m not even joking. But before you think I’m totally weird (which I am, whatever), you must try some of these almost-caramelized pears with noodles and parmesan and other things that are vegetables but I like to pretend aren’t really vegetables. K?


Caramelized Pear, Squash & Parmesan Noodles

Yield: serves 2-4


3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 shallots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 anjou pear, thinly sliced
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
12-15 brussels sprouts, stems removed and sliced
10-12 sage leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
pinch of nutmeg
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (I used pomegranate vinegar)
1/2 pound whole wheat spaghetti
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese


Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add olive oil and butter. Add shallots, garlic, squash, brussels sprouts, sage and pear, top with salt and pepper, then stir to coat. Cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, then cover and cook for another 5 minutes. While veggies are cooking, boil water and prepare pasta according to directions.

Turn heat under veggies down to low, then add balsamic and stir. Drain pasta and add directly to skillet, tossing multiple times to coat. Add in parmesan cheese, taste, and season more if desired. Cover and let sit over low heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, so the flavors can mesh. Serve with additional parmesan cheese for topping.

P.S. You know how I always talk about my most favorite oils and vinegars ever? Just like last year, you can get 10% off your order if you use the code howsweet10. Enjoy!

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112 Responses to “Caramelized Pear, Squash & Parmesan Noodles.”

  1. #
    Cate — November 16, 2011 @ 12:18 pm

    I read this while on a conference call at work and good thing I was on mute or I would have laughed really loudly during the call! This looks uh-may-zing and it has many of my favorites. I can’t wait to try it!


  2. #
    Sweet Marcella — November 16, 2011 @ 12:19 pm

    Your stories make me so happy!!!! I literally laugh out loud at work…. Partly because I did the same things! oh TLC and lip smackers!


  3. #
    Judy — November 16, 2011 @ 12:23 pm

    I am so intrigued by this recipe, I may have to try it soon. I can’t get enough butternut squash lately, and parmesan cheese – yes please!


  4. #
    Julie @SavvyEats — November 16, 2011 @ 12:27 pm

    Um, hi. This looks awesome. That is all.


  5. #
    Sweet Marcella — November 16, 2011 @ 12:28 pm

    Your stories make me so happy!!!! I literally make me laugh out loud at work…. Partly because I did the same things! oh TLC and lip smackers!


  6. #
    Annie @ Naturally Sweet Recipes — November 16, 2011 @ 12:28 pm

    Oh my, just the name makes me want to go running to the kitchen to make this. Your pics are wonderful! It looks soo good!


  7. #
    Sweet Marcella — November 16, 2011 @ 12:45 pm

    Jessica, what are your favorite oils and vinegars from Fustini’s? I really want to try some!


    • Jessica — November 16th, 2011 @ 12:51 pm

      Gahhh I love them all, but: red apple, pomegranate, blueberry, strawberry, coconut, vanilla bean, peach and cherry. I also love the persian lime oil and pumpkin seed oil!


  8. #
    Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes — November 16, 2011 @ 1:07 pm

    Haha this was hilarious. Can’t wait to try this soon!!!


  9. #
    Honey What's Cooking — November 16, 2011 @ 1:07 pm

    haha.. i hate being cold.. too cold and too hot. Omg, you’re gonna go crazy when you hit menopause.. that’s like 20 years away, but so dreading it. great recipe and beautiful shots.


  10. #
    Kristen @ Chocolate Covered Kristen — November 16, 2011 @ 1:11 pm

    1 – There are so many flavors of vinegar that look interesting that it’s almost overwhelming.
    2 – I cannot tell a lie. I am 25-years-young and still use Lip Smackers. I have fruit punch and wild raspberry in my purse right now… and some plum colored lip tint for when I am pretending to be an adult.


  11. #
    Erica — November 16, 2011 @ 1:12 pm

    I’m a total whack…I love the heat. I think it was 77 degrees in our bedroom last night. Awesome. Pear in pasta? Must try


  12. #
    Liz @ Tip Top Shape — November 16, 2011 @ 1:26 pm

    All of these sage recipes and I can’t find it anywhere near me :( Even Whole foods didn’t carry it for some reason. Anyhoo, this looks fantastic!


  13. #
    nicole {sweet peony} — November 16, 2011 @ 1:32 pm

    haha loved your story! you’re lucky you don’t live out here in l.a. where many apartments don’t have a/c. i hate suffering through the summer… running to see that it’s 84 in our apartment. 84!!!!! it’s like torture! especially since i can’t stand not baking/cooking. a/c is a definite MUST for our next place. also, more windows. and a bigger kitchen. too picky? anyways, this pasta sounds good & your pics are awesome!


  14. #
    Kristy Lynn @ Gastronomical Sovereignty — November 16, 2011 @ 1:44 pm

    i always need more pasta recipes!

    PS. lip smackers! i had a million of em too. They were like treasures to me!


  15. #
    Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen — November 16, 2011 @ 2:06 pm

    Nothing makes me angrier than hot weather. Like, nothing else!!! Caramelized pears in pasta?! Delish!


  16. #
    Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga — November 16, 2011 @ 2:34 pm

    At 74F I am bundled up with a shirt, sweatshirt and pants. Good thing I live in San Diego :)

    These pics are great and remind me of Deb/Smitten…black background, crisp and modern, and very cool :)


  17. #
    Moni'sMeals — November 16, 2011 @ 3:38 pm

    This is again so unigue and fun to look at at. :)
    Loved this post too.


  18. #
    Katie — November 16, 2011 @ 4:18 pm

    You are full of good things today. And my “Today” I mean the last few posts I’m catching up on “Today” – this pasta looks so good. Can I come over for lunch? (I might have to bring a coat and mittens, though, because I haaaate to be cold)


  19. #
    Melanie @ The Sweet Life — November 16, 2011 @ 4:34 pm

    O.M.G. I TOTALLY have not been sleeping well the past few nights, and it just occurred to me that it’s probably because I have the exact same needing to be cold/can’t sleep without covers issue. As in it must be 40 degrees in my room and I need 750 layers to sleep and my nose is cold but I like it kind of issue. It’s been too warm to sleep! Problem solved. Crisis averted. Bring on the snow.


  20. #
    Sarah W — November 16, 2011 @ 5:22 pm

    Great, now I’m listening to Creep…..thanks


  21. #
    Ourjourneyinfaith — November 16, 2011 @ 5:30 pm

    Speaking favorite olive oils and vinegars….have you ever tried this balsamic vinegar from Williams Sonoma? ( )
    Next time you are in the store ask them if they have it open, usually they do, and get a taste. It will change your world. It is amazing on savory dishes, yet sooo delish on vanilla ice cream and strawberries!!! It is a product that is hit or miss in stores because it is so popular that they frequently are sold out between shipments.


    • Jessica — November 16th, 2011 @ 5:32 pm

      Yep I have! It’s what I used for years before discovering Fustinis.


      • Ourjourneyinfaith — November 16th, 2011 @ 7:02 pm

        @ Jessica I knew there was a reason I read your blog… :)

  22. #
    Jessie — November 16, 2011 @ 6:31 pm

    I do the same thing with the covers! I need to be covered…otherwise there is no sleeping!


  23. #
    Alexa @ Simple Eats — November 16, 2011 @ 6:51 pm

    I love adding veggies to pasta…then I don’t feel bad about eating half a box of pasta alone. Healthy, right?


  24. #
    [New Balance] Nicole — November 16, 2011 @ 10:01 pm

    looks yummy! I love adding any veggies to pasta (especially squash!)


  25. #
    Kath — November 16, 2011 @ 10:03 pm

    Humming Creep and visualizing Lipsmackers. Blastfromthepast.


  26. #
    Maureen — November 16, 2011 @ 11:23 pm

    If you keep making good food like this, you can say it’s Winter even when it’s flipping 100 degrees out!


  27. #
    Nutmeg Nanny — November 17, 2011 @ 12:11 am

    This looks awesome! I love the addition of pear..yum!


  28. #
    KosherCorvid — November 17, 2011 @ 12:56 am

    Without the vinegar, I’d have said no to the pear. With it, though, sounds fantastic. I’m kind of in love with Brussels sprouts right now, so this is right up my alley.


  29. #
    naomi — November 17, 2011 @ 1:42 am

    You just combined for so many of my fav flavors! Love all the flavor pairings.


  30. #
    Maria — November 17, 2011 @ 3:14 am

    Adding this to my dinner list! Love it!


  31. #
    Megan — November 17, 2011 @ 8:50 am

    I don’t like pasta either but this sounds so good!!

    Tl’s Creep: best song EVER!


  32. #
    Sandra — November 17, 2011 @ 9:07 am

    This looks incredible Jessica, and by the way, you’re going to love menopause!


  33. #
    Rose Weiss — November 17, 2011 @ 10:19 am

    I’m always so excited to see your blog updates in my inbox because you constantly crack me up. You are hilarious! I love it :) Oh and the pasta looks fantastic too!


  34. #
    Amber — November 17, 2011 @ 12:12 pm

    Speaking of whackos and Fustini’s–I spent WAY too much money there last weekend! I keep telling everyone that the 6 bottles I bought are going to make lovely Christmas gifts. Er, they would have, but I opened 2 already. I’m obsessed with the idea of turing the espresso and coconute balsamics into the flavor base for a martini.


  35. #
    Crystal — November 17, 2011 @ 12:20 pm

    It cracks me up every time you talk about hating to be hot, because I feel like you could be describing me. Living in Minnesota, we definitely see our fair share of cold weather, but I always say it’s easier to warm up than cool off! I finally broke down and turned on our furnace last night (since it was only 16 degrees outside!) but I was still wearing shorts and a tank top :)


  36. #
    Katie@Cozydelicious — November 17, 2011 @ 9:21 pm

    Yum!!!! This pasta looks fantastic. And yes, I can imagine it tastes just like winter. The sweet and salty combo is awesome.


  37. #
    Katie — November 17, 2011 @ 11:04 pm

    you totes had me at ‘caramelized pear’.


  38. #
    Naomi(onefitfoodie) — November 17, 2011 @ 11:12 pm

    first of all obsessed with you and your writing style…seriously puts a smile on my face. I just bookmarked this pasta and want it like NOW


  39. #
    Casey @ Insatiably Healthy — November 18, 2011 @ 1:47 am

    I’ve never thought of pairing squash with pear. Interesante


  40. #
    CouponClippingCook — November 18, 2011 @ 11:30 am

    Love this! More great ways to get your veggies for the day…and the sage flavor with the pasta sounds so good.


  41. #
    Alex — November 23, 2011 @ 7:30 pm

    Just found your blog from a friend. I know check it daily and use your recipes daily! This might be one of my top five of yours! Looks amazing! Cant wait to try it! :) Thanks!


  42. #
    Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence — November 30, 2011 @ 1:17 pm

    Last year I made a pasta sauce with squash and parmesan. Such a wonderful flavor combination.


  43. #
    Kristen@PrettySweet — December 5, 2011 @ 1:46 pm

    Just ordered some tangerine balsamic and basil oil for my mom. And cranberry balsamic and meyer lemon for me! It was SO difficult to decide. I want them ALL. At least I had a 10% off code! =)


    • Jessica — December 5th, 2011 @ 5:11 pm




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