Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta with Bacon and Crispy Sage
This pasta is like a fall-inspired carbonara but without the egg base. Instead the dish gets richness from goat cheese and a touch of cream. Sweet roasted butternut squash, fried sage leaves and crisp bacon round out this decadent, creamy pasta.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Place the squash on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle liberally with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, toss and roast until soft and golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes longer.
Place the diced bacon in a medium nonstick skillet and place over medium heat. Cook until crispy and golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and place in a medium bowl lined with a paper towel.
Add the pasta and a generous amount of salt to the boiling water and cook according to the package directions until al dente. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking water.
Add the sage leaves to the rendered bacon fat in the skillet, return to medium heat, and fry until the leaves are crispy, about 1 minute. Transfer the leaves to a small plate lined with a paper towel. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat.
Place a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the reserved bacon fat and the garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the goat cheese and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Whisk in the cream, Parmesan, mustard, nutmeg, cayenne and black pepper to taste. Keep warm on low heat.
Once the pasta is drained, add it to the skillet along with 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water. Toss to coat, then add the squash and bacon. Crumble in half of the fried sage leaves. Toss and add more salt to taste. If the mixture looks dry, add some of the remaining cooking water. Scrape the pasta into a serving bowl and top with the remaining whole sage leaves, a sprinkle of black pepper and some Parmesan.