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Penne with Winter Squash and Pancetta

To freeze, remove the sauce from the heat and let cool completely. Transfer to a 1-quart airtight container and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator. When reheating the sauce, stir in an additional 2 Tbs. cream.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 4 oz. pancetta or thick-sliced bacon, coarsely chopped
  • 1 lb. butternut or other winter squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 12 oz. kale, stems removed and leaves chopped
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh sage
  • Salt, to taste, plus 2 Tbs.
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb. penne or other medium-size pasta

Directions:

Make the sauce
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.

In a large fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a paper towel–lined plate. Pour off all but 2 Tbs. of fat from the pan.

Add the squash and kale and sauté until the kale begins to wilt, about 1 minute. Add the broth, cover and cook until the squash is just tender, about 15 minutes. Uncover, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Cook until the broth is reduced by half, about 5 minutes more. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cream and sage. Season with salt and pepper. To freeze the sauce, set aside to cool (see note).

Cook the pasta
Meanwhile, add the 2 Tbs. salt and pasta to the boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, according to the package instructions. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

Finish the pasta
Add the pasta to the sauce, along with the reserved pancetta. Toss to combine over low heat. Add as much of the reserved cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Make Ahead, by Rick Rodgers (Oxmoor House, 2008).