Creamy Butternut Squash and Mascarpone Orecchiette Ingredients:
4 c. butternut squash, cubed (or 15-oz. bag frozen)
1 medium red onion, roughly chopped
4-5 large cloves garlic, peeled
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 lb. orecchiette pasta
¼ c. heavy cream
½ c. mascarpone cheese
2 T. unsalted butter
½ c. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (plus extra for serving)
2 T. fresh thyme leaves
Creamy Butternut Squash and Mascarpone Orecchiette Instructions:
1. Pre-heat your oven to 400°F and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat™ baking mat. Set aside.
2. Add butternut squash, red onion, and garlic cloves to a large bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Gently toss to combine and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Spread into a single layer without overcrowding.
3. Place the vegetables in the pre-heated oven and roast for 25-30 minutes, turning halfway through, or until vegetables are fork tender and golden brown.
4. While the butternut squash mixture is roasting, prepare the orecchiette according to package instructions. Once the pasta is al dente, reserve one cup of the cooking water prior to draining. Return pasta to the pot and set aside.
5. Remove the roasted vegetables from the oven and carefully transfer to a food processor or a high-speed blender. (Do not overfill). Cover and blend until completely smooth. Add a little of the reserved cooking liquid, if necessary.
6. Temper the heavy cream by stirring a one or two tablespoons of the hot butternut squash puree to it before adding to the blender. Add the mascarpone cheese and blend until smooth.
7. Pour the creamy butternut squash sauce into the pot with the pasta and stir to combine. Add some of the reserved cooking liquid to thin out the sauce, as needed.
8. Stir in the butter, Parmesan cheese, and fresh thyme leaves. Season with additional salt and black pepper, to taste, and serve immediately topped with additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.
Notes re Creamy Butternut Squash and Mascarpone Orecchiette:
You may be interested to know that orecchiette pasta is originally from Puglia, in Italy
The blend of heavy cream, mascarpone cheese, butter, and Parmesan cheese makes this dish very rich, so you may find it is best served as a side dish instead of a main course.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes