Squash & chestnut pasta with crispy sage & garlic recipe image

Print Squash & chestnut pasta with crispy sage & garlic

The chestnuts have already been cooked and may seem a little bland and mealy at first. Colouring them in the pan reveals lots of complex sweet, nutty flavours and changes the texture, too.

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash
  • Olive oil
  • 1 whole garlic bulb
  • 15g sage
  • 6 cooked chestnuts
  • 200g orecchiette
  • 25g butter
  • 25g Parmesan cheese
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 nutmeg
  • Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Put a large pan of well salted water on to boil. Preheat oven to 200˚C/Gas Mark 6. Peel the butternut squash and remove the soft, seedy core with a spoon, discard. Chop the squash into 1½ cm chunks.
  2. Place them in a roasting tray, coat with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place them in the oven to roast for 25 minutes, or until tender and slightly coloured. While the squash cooks, break the garlic bulb into its separate cloves. Peel each clove, keeping them whole. Pop the garlic cloves into the pan of boiling water and cook them for 10 minutes, until just tender to the tip of a knife.
  3. While the garlic poaches, pick the sage leaves from the stalks. Coarsely chop the chestnuts. When the garlic has cooked, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and slide the pasta into the same pan of water for 12 minutes to cook. Slice the larger cloves of garlic into quarter’s, the smaller into half’s. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the saucepan.
  4. Add the butter and heat until it melts and starts to gently foam. Add the chopped chestnuts. Season with a sprinkle of salt and gently fry for 4-5 minutes. Turn frequently until they start to smell fragrant and nutty. Add the sliced garlic and the sage leaves.
  5. Turn the heat up and fry for 2-3 minutes until the garlic and chestnuts are golden brown and the sage leaves have crisped up. Add a good squeeze of lemon juice. Take the pan off the heat. Drain the pasta and remove the squash from the oven. Add them to the pan of chestnuts and return it to the heat. Season with freshly ground pepper and throw everything together for about 1 minute.
  6. Divide into shallow bowls, grate over a scant dusting of nutmeg and sprinkle with the cheese. Serve immediately.

Cooks notes

Don’t be put off by the inclusion of a whole bulb of garlic in this recipe. By poaching the cloves the pungent notes are softened and the whole thing becomes sweet and soft. They can then be lightly browned in the pan until slightly crisp and chewy, a process that would render them bitter if cooked from raw.
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