2000s Recipes + Menus

Kemp’s Butternut Squash Pasta with Fried Sage Leaves

  • Active time:35 min
  • Start to finish:35 min
February 2009
If you are a fan of pumpkin-stuffed ravioli with sage butter—an Italian classic—think of the pasta dish below as its less-demanding cousin. While it may lack the sexiness of stuffed pasta pillows, it delivers all the alluring flavor in very little time.

Learn how our executive food editor developed this recipe, and learn her method for chopping and peeling butternut squash.
  • 1 (2- to 2 1/4-lb) butternut squash with a long neck
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (1 1/2- to 2-oz) bunch sage, stems discarded (1 1/4 cups packed leaves)
  • 1 medium-large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 lb rotini or penne
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • Accompaniment:

    grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Cut off neck of squash and reserve bulbous end, wrapped and chilled, for later use. Peel neck and cut into roughly 1-inch cubes (3 1/2 to 4 cups; 1 lb). Process in a food processor until very finely chopped. Combine with water (2 cups) and 1/2 tsp salt in a heavy medium saucepan and briskly simmer, uncovered, stirring once or twice, until tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Chop 1 Tbsp sage. While squash is simmering, cook onion in olive oil with 1/4 tsp salt in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and chopped sage and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add squash and simmer, stirring, 2 minutes. Stir in cheese and season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook rotini in a pasta pot of well-salted boiling water until al dente.
  • While pasta is cooking, pat sage leaves dry, if necessary, with paper towels. Heat vegetable oil in an 8- to 9-inch skillet over high heat until it shimmers. Test frying temperature by dipping tip of a leaf in oil. If it bubbles briskly, it’s ready. Add a small handful of leaves (they will make quite a commotion) and fry, stirring with a slotted spoon, until crisp but still green, 10 to 30 seconds. Transfer to paper towels to drain and fry remaining leaves in 3 or 4 batches. Season with salt.
  • Reserve 1 cup pasta-cooking water, then drain pasta and add to sauce. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until well coated, about 1 minute, thinning if necessary with some of reserved cooking water.
  • Transfer to a large bowl and serve fried sage leaves on the side (each person can top their own serving with the leaves).
Subscribe to Gourmet