‘Tis the season to stuff squash into every food imaginable.
Get on board, k?
There are a million things I look forward to every autumn, such as crunchy leaves and crisp air and new seasons of fabulous TV shows and the thought that omgthankgod! that shorts are out of season, but the best by far is smashing squashes(eseses) into savory foods.
And I wish the excitement was shared with other members of my family, but while my husband is just “okay” with a squash side dish, the rest of my family practically lost their… stuff… when I brought butternut lasagna to Thanksgiving dinner last year. Um, hello? I’m not gonna fight it if you can’t handle squash in untraditional ways. More for me. Whomp whomp.
And that’s sort of what I did last weekend. I, of course, was able to call this a meal considering it consisted of some of my favorite ingredients in the world, but SOMEONE else had to pair it with some leftover turkey meatballs. Not together. I would NOT let him ruin this fettuccine like that. But I mean, who knows what happened when my back was turned. He probably doused it with ketchup or something.
Welcome to my life.
The thing is… I could not stop devouring this. Like straight up, right from the baking dish devouring it. Like a hot mess. Like a I-don’t-even-care-who-sees-me hangry disaster. Like a it’s-9:45-and-I’m-watching-Full-House-and-frying-extra-sage-for-a-microwave-heated-bowl-of-pumpkin-pasta freak. I even kept sneaking bites (from whom? I don’t know. Is it whom or who?) for the rest of the night, as the dish got colder and colder and colder. Didn’t care. Was a girl possessed.
And I swear, it’s different from the butternut shells I rambled on and on about last week, because, uh… well… I say so. It’s much creamier, it sports a different noodle, it’s covered in sage and cheesier too. Cheesier in a good way. Not a cheesy way. And while it’s still a bit decadent, it’s slightly lighter than traditional alfredo and loaded with fiber and nutrients and all sorts of good stuff.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Yield: serves 4-6
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
1 pound whole wheat/whole grain fettuccine
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups low-fat milk
2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cups pumpkin puree
1 tablespoons freshly chopped sage leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
freshly grated fontina cheese for topping
fine breadcrumbs for sprinkling
10-15 fresh sage leaves
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Boil water and prepare pasta according to directions, shaving 1-2 minutes off of cooking time. I cooked my fettuccine for 6 minutes.
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add butter. Once sizzling, whisk in flour and stir to create a roux, until bubbly and golden, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add in milk, stirring constantly and increasing heat a little bit until it begins to bubble and thicken, about 5-6 minutes. Add in mascarpone, parmesan, pumpkin, sage, salt, pepper and pumpkin pie spice, mixing well until smooth and combined and thickened into a sauce.
Spray a baking dish (mine was 7x11) with nonstick spray and add pasta to the dish. Pour sauce over top and toss well with kitchen tongs to coat. Add some grated fontina on top and a sprinkling of bread crumbs. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until bubbly and slightly golden.
While pasta is baking, heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add olive oil. Once hot, add sage leaves 4-5 at a time and fry for about 30 seconds. Remove and place on a paper towel.
Serve pasta immediately and top with sage leaves.
[This can easily be reheated but like any alfredo, you will need to add a bit of milk or liquid as it warms to bring the creaminess back to the dish.]
You can find me elbow deep in that dish up there.