Fall is here, and this Butternut Squash Carbonara is going to be your new favorite fall dish. Carbonara is such a comfort food and absolute perfection on it’s own. I was wanting to make a fall specific version and that’s when I thought up Butternut Squash Carbonara. I had never had it before, usually the fall it’s a lot of soups or stuffed raviolis with squash or pumpkin. I love this harvest pasta sauce they sell at Trader Joe’s so it kind of inspired the idea of using squash.
Fall hands down is the greatest season. Goodbye, summer, and your hot ass sticky weather. I wonder if I love fall a little extra because my birthday is in October. If I had to pick a favorite month, it would probably be October regardless of my birthday – not SoCal October because it’s still hot, and everything is on fire, but October in Connecticut. It’s such a beautiful time of year with crisp air, turning leaves, apple cider donuts, corn mazes, hayrides and HALLOWEEN!
Halloween, and fall in general, just hit different when you grew up in New England. Everything is old and kind of spooky, and there are ghost stories, creepy woods and open fields and it’s freaking great! People didn’t always have money for a proper burial; so many people are buried all over the place in unmarked graves. As time went on, people built on those burial grounds, which I think lead to some creepy stuff. There is actually a town in CT called Dudleytown that you can’t even enter. Everyone who has tried to enter has had some crazy experience with their cars dying or the woods being silent. I had so many weird experiences growing up and have never felt anything like it since I have moved. Hearing voices, feeling presences, and one time, I had my mattress bang up and down long enough that my roommate heard me screaming and rushed in. Also, Ed and Lorraine Warren, the famous paranormal investigators, are from CT. That should be enough to prove my case. I remember they came to my middle school. I was so pumped and terrified. I lived across the street from a graveyard for a year in college. We would go and take pictures at night, and orbs would be all over the photos. If you want a real fall experience, travel to Connecticut, or really any part of New England. Everyone has ghost stories to share.
As a teenager, we had this thing called doorbell night the night before Halloween. I doubt it’s as fun now with everyone having security cameras and cell phones, but my girlfriends and I had a blast! By 16, I was extremely proficient in toilet papering, egging things and running from the scene of the prank. I once hid in a leaf pile for over an hour while these grown men were searching for me in the woods. They probably would have beaten my ass thinking I was some young punk neighborhood boy. Oh, the thrill of it all… It could get pretty brutal out on the mean streets of Middlebury on doorbell night. Some fights over territory definitely happened. I actually blame this behavior on my brother; he paved the path for my friends and me to partake in these activities. We were just sweet, innocent, impressionable young ladies. No, that’s a lie – my friends and I were monsters, and I may have been the ring leader and definitely used peer pressure to my advantage. It was a different time. My mom heavily encouraged this behavior as well. She thought it was great and would invite all of our friends over to get ready to go out. She supplied us with silly string, eggs and TP. Was it enabling? Yes. Was it so much fun? YES! She was always down for a good time; it’s definitely where I get it from. I thought growing up where we did was a lot of fun, and I know you couldn’t get away with even half that stuff anywhere else.
- 1 lb. of linguine
- 4 cups of peeled, seeded & 1 inch cubed butternut squash
- 5-6 pieces of bacon chopped or 5oz of cubed pancetta
- 5 fresh sage leaves
- 1 ½ cups of sliced mushrooms, crimini or shitake (optional)
- 1 onion finely diced
- 5 cloves of garlic (I love garlic so use less if you want but use at least 3)
- 1 ½-2 cups of veggie or chicken stock
- ¼ cup of heavy cream (you can omit or use alternative milk)
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese. Pecorino Romano would work too,
- 4 eggs whisked (optional, I like it and it’s traditional. However the sauce is good without)
- 1 tbsp. white miso paste (optional as well but I like it)
- 3 tbsp. saved pasta water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil
Seasoning for squash
- ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. dried thyme
- ¼ tsp. dried rosemary
- ¼ tsp. sweet paprika
- ½ tsp. onion powder
- Sprinkle of red pepper flakes
- Sprinkle of Salt and pepper
- You will need a blender or food processor for this. Start by prepping everything: peel, seed and dice your butternut squash into small cubes. Press your garlic, mix your spices, pluck your sage, grate your cheese and slice your mushrooms. Add your eggs to a mixing bowl and set aside.
- In a large pot bring water to a boil for your pasta.
- In a large pan add your bacon and sage and cook till crispy. The sage leaves will only take a minute or so on each side. Remove your bacon and sage to a napkin when done. Remove half of the oil from the pan and discard. In the remaining oil, add your mushrooms and cook till browned on both sides then remove. Add 1/2 tbsp. olive oil if you need to, and then add in your onion to cook down. After about 3 minutes add in your cubed butternut squash. Toss and stir it in the oil and onion. Once it’s evenly coated with oil sprinkle in your seasoning and stir. Cook for 2-3 minutes then add in your garlic to cook for another minute or so. Then add in 1 – 1½ cup of broth/stock. Cook down until squash is soft. This should be around 5-8 minutes. They will be fork tender. Remove pan from heat. You will use it again to toss everything together, you just need it to cool down off the heat.
- At this time salt your pot of water and add your pasta. You want to cook it one minute under what the package says.
- Now add your squash and onions to a blender and turn it on. While it’s running add a little more veggie stock to loosen it up. You want it to be a creamy consistency but not too thick. Taste it and adjust for seasoning. Add in your heavy cream and give it just a quick pulse to mix.
- Take your bowl of eggs, add your miso paste and whisk it together. Add in ¾ of your cheese and some fresh cracked black pepper and mix again. You are going to want to now temper your eggs when you have about a minute left of your pasta cooking.
- You temper your eggs by slowly adding 1 tbsp. of pasta water to egg mixture, whisk vigorously, and repeat two times. 3 tbsp. of pasta water total.
- When the pasta is done add it directly from the pot to your now cooled down large skillet. I let it sit for a minute then I pour in the egg mixture and toss it like crazy while still off the heat. The goal is not to scramble the eggs. Give it a minute to adjust, and then slowly start adding in the butternut squash sauce tossing it as you go. Add bacon, mushrooms, parsley and the rest of the cheese to garnish and serve. Use some left over pasta water if you need to thin it out a little.