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Roast seeds and peel for a crunchy garnish on butternut squash and sage pasta

UPDATED: Tue., April 27, 2021

The different parts of the squash give this dish lots of texture.  (Scott Suchman/For the Washington Post)
The different parts of the squash give this dish lots of texture. (Scott Suchman/For the Washington Post)
By Joe Yonan Washington Post

Here’s how to use almost every bit of a butternut squash in one satisfying recipe. First, you roast the cubed flesh, stripped peel and cleaned seeds. Then you turn the flesh into a sauce for pasta, and the crunchy peel and seeds become a complementary garnish. To keep the dish vegan, use an egg-free pasta.

Seed-to-Skin Squash and Sage Pasta

Adapted from “More Plants, Less Waste” by Max La Manna (Yellow Kite, 2019).

One 2-pound organic butternut squash, well scrubbed and dried

1 large yellow onion (12 ounces), peeled and quartered

4 cloves garlic, unpeeled

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided, plus more to taste

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided, plus more to taste

6 fresh sage leaves

1 cup canned coconut milk

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste

2 cups lightly packed baby arugula

1 pound dried pappardelle, tagliatelle or other favorite pasta

Position two racks in the upper and lower thirds of an oven and preheat to 400 degrees.

Using a sharp peeler, peel the squash in long strips. Cut the peels into 2-inch pieces, then cut the pieces into very thin slices. Using a sharp knife, cut the squash in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds and stringy pulp, transfer them to a small bowl of water and separate the seeds from the pulp. Discard or compost the pulp, and transfer the seeds to a clean dish towel and dry them thoroughly.

Cut the squash flesh into 1-inch cubes. In a large bowl, toss the cubes with the onion, garlic, 1 tablespoon of the oil, the smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon of the salt and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper. Transfer the mixture to a large, rimmed baking sheet in one layer and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the squash’s edges begin to brown and the flesh is soft.

Meanwhile, in the same bowl, toss the sage leaves, squash seeds and peels with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. Transfer them to a second rimmed baking sheet in one layer and roast for 10 to 15 minutes, tossing occasionally, until lightly crisped and golden brown. Transfer to a plate to cool.

When the squash cubes are tender, transfer the onion quarters to the bowl of a food processor. Squeeze the garlic out of its papers into the bowl and add ½ cup of the coconut milk. Puree until smooth.

Add the remaining coconut milk, squash cubes, 3 of the roasted sage leaves and the lemon juice and pulse a few times until thick but still chunky. Taste, and add more salt, pepper and lemon, if needed. Transfer the sauce to a large serving bowl and add the arugula.

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta according to the package instructions until al dente, then use tongs to transfer it directly to the serving bowl. Toss to combine. Add the remaining sage leaves, roasted peels and seeds and serve hot.

Yield: 6 servings

Make ahead: The squash flesh, seeds and skin can be roasted and refrigerated for up to 5 days. When ready to serve, make the sauce and reheat on the stove top, and let the seeds and skin come to room temperature before cooking the pasta and finishing the dish.

Storage: The finished pasta with sauce can be refrigerated for up to 5 days; refrigerate the peels and seeds separately. Freezing the finished dish is not recommended, but you can freeze the sauce for up to 3 months. Defrost and reheat before tossing with the pasta before serving.

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