Monday, December 5, 2011

Produce May Appear Closer Than it Seems

Our winter share at Quail Hill is really paying off, because of the unusually warm weather. Kale is still growing like weeds in the fields. My husband brought home the world's biggest sweet potato, which one of my children promptly christened "the baby," because according to her it looks like (and is the size of) a baby wrapped in an orange blanket. I don't know if you can tell from the photo, but the banana squash on my kitchen counter was the size of a small, skinny watermelon. Compare it the normal-size butternut squashes and you'll get the idea. On Sunday we roasted some of it with a little butter. Tonight, I made pasta with banana squash and pancetta (you can substitute butternut squash, since they are very similar). Here's the recipe:

Penne with Banana Squash and Pancetta
Serves 4 to 6

2 pounds banana squash or butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound penne
3 ounces pancetta, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons half-and-half
Ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty foil. Toss squash with oil and salt to taste on sheet and roast until browned and tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook penne until just tender.
3. While penne is cooking, cook pancetta in a large skillet until just crisp. Add onion and dried sage and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add squash and toss to combine.
4. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup cooking water, and return to pot. Toss with squash mixture, cheese, half-and-half, and cooking water to moisten sufficiently. Serve immediately.

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