When combined, certain foods become a holy and amazing force. Peanuts and chocolate... cheese, ham, and mayo... brussels sprouts, bacon, and apples... ricotta, winter squash, and sage... The latter, Silka has been jonesing for pretty consistently over the last few weeks. First we tried to satiate the craving with a pizza. We bought dough at Eataly, picked up some delicata, riccota and sage from the market and put it all together. But it just wasnt enough. The ingredients were overwhelmed by the dough, the delicata wasn't quite right and the piney flavor of the sage wasn’t pronounced enough.
Never to give up on a culinary dream, we decided to try again but this time stripping it down to the essentials. After realizing that we needed something simple like pasta as a base, we got more fresh ricotta, sage, and a butternut squash. We roasted the squash in large chunks with butter to bring out it's full umami and we fried the sage, filling the kitchen a woodsy smell. When we mixed it all together - the ricotta just melting, the squash breaking down with the crunchy sage, the al dente pasta's water thickening everything up a little - we knew we'd finally gotten it right!
Pappardelle with Ricotta & Squash
+ ¾ lbs fresh pappardelle
+ 1 lb fresh ricotta
+ 1 medium butternut squash, cut into 1-inch chunks
+ 2 tablespoons butter
+ 1 large bunch of sage (or 1 loose cup)
+ vegetable oil
+ salt and pepper
1. In a large roasting pan, spread the squash out in one layer. Dot with butter, sprinkle with salt, and roast at 400 degrees for about 1 hour.
2. In an unheated heavy duty pan, pour the vegetable oil so it is about ¼ inch deep. Place pan on high heat and let heat up for a minute or so. Put about half of the sage in the oil and let sage fry for about a minute. Remove the sage and put it on a paper towel to drain. Repeat with remaining sage.
3. Boil salted water for the pasta in a large pot and cook pasta to the package's directions. When cooked, drain the pasta and put in serving bowl. Toss with the fried sage, roasted squash and ricotta. Salt and pepper to taste.