Total time: 1 hour (plus cashew soak. 30 minutes if using canned butternut.)
Active time: 20 minutes
Whether you’re lugging them home from the farmer’s market, or plucking them out of your backyard garden, October means it’s time for butternut everything. If you’re a butternut maniac like I am, then this is good news. But perhaps in your zealous lust for the creamy orange flesh you’ve come down with a severe case of Butternut Burnout ™.
Yes, butternut in your breakfast, soup, muffins and in your salads…it has taken its toll. No more sweet gingery autumnal goodness, you say. No more spicy warm cinnamon goosebumps. Butternut Burnout ™ means a steady diet of kale and chocolate forever more or at least until Spring.
However, there is a way to combat BB. And that’s by treating it with savory elements, rather than sweet. This Roasted Butternut Alfredo is sure to combat all of the damage done to you by those butternut waffles. The squash is roasted first, and then pureed with cashew cream to make a thick, autumnal sauce, that is lush, creamy and most importantly, savory. White wine, some sauteed onions and garlic…oh yes, keep it coming. Butternut forever! Butternut for life!
~ An average butternut weighs like 3 lbs. You don’t need that whole 3 lbs for this recipe, but you should roast the entire thing anyway. To roast, Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a large chef’s knife, cut the the round part of the butternut from the long part. Slice the round part in half and scoop out the seeds. Brush or spray parchment lightly with oil and place squash pieces, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until squash is very tender. When cool enough to handle, scoop out the squash needed for this recipe. Save the rest for whatever you like: soup, muffins, or just mashed up with some ginger, maple syrup and cinnamon.
~ You can make this with a can of butternut or pumpkin puree, too. Of course you won’t have the roasted squash to put on top, but them’s the breaks. It will still be yum.
~ You can also make this with any winter squash, I’d imagine. Pumpkin, delicata, acorn, kabocha….all good choices.
~ I like to have extra sauce to serve with veggies and stuff. If you have no such need, then this sauce will probably be sufficient for an entire pound of pasta.
~ I would have loved to use fettuccine or linguine here, but I didn’t have any. I ended up using strozzapretti, but that’s a bit hard to find. Fusilli would be a great choice, or a smaller pasta like orecchiette. I can see penne working, too! What I’m trying to say, I think, is that this is a great sauce for any kind of pasta.
~ As always, you can soak cashews overnight. Or soak em all day. Just try to remember to soak ‘em in advance so that you’re not waiting for the cashews to make the recipe. If you have a Vitamix or Blendtec type million dollar blender, well, luck you! You can skip the soaking step.
1/2 pound pasta (see note)
1/2 cup cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups roasted butternut squash (see note)
2 tablespoons mellow white miso
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
For the rest:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, quartered and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dry rubbed sage
3/4 cup dry white wine
Several dashes fresh black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Extra roasted squash
Pepitas, or chopped pecans, walnuts or hazelnuts
Once the squash has roasted, bring a salted pot of water to boil for the pasta. When boiling, cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, drain the cashews and place them in a blender with the vegetable broth. Blend until very smooth. Rub sauce between your finger and when hardly any grittiness remains, add the roasted butternut, miso, nutritional yeast (if using) and lemon juice. Puree until smooth, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula to make sure you get everything.
While the sauce is blending, start the onions. Preheat a large cast iron pan over medium heat, saute onions in olive oil and a pinch of salt for about 7 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds or so, just until fragrant. Mix in the sage and pepper. Then add the wine and salt and turn the heat up to bring wine to a boil. Let boil for about two minutes, to reduce a little.
Turn down the heat to medium low. Now add the butternut cream to the pan, and stir to incorporate the onions and everything. Heat through, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. The sauce should thicken a bit. Taste for salt and seasonings.
Set aside some of the sauce (you can reserve a cup or so for veggies if you’d like to throw some on top.) Add the pasta, and toss to coat. Serve topped with additional roasted squash and a sprinkle of nuts.