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Weekend Recipe: Penne with Butternut Squash and Brown Butter Sauce

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Photo courtesy of Cook's Country
Photo courtesy of Cook's Country

Here's one way to take advantage of the season's bounty, courtesy of Cook's Country. Brown the butternut squash properly -- it will really complement the sauce!

Penne with Butternut Squash and Brown Butter Sauce
Serves 4

1 pound penne, fusilli, or other short, tubular pasta
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (3 cups)
2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, torn
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned, and chopped coarse
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1 cup)

Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt to boiling water and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain pasta and return it to pot.

Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add squash, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cover and cook until squash is softened and browned, about 5 minutes. Add sage and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds; add squash mixture to pasta.

Add butter and hazelnuts to now-empty skillet and cook over medium-high heat until both are browned and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and stir in lemon juice and 1/4 cup reserved cooking water (butter will foam and sizzle). Stir hazelnut mixture and 1/2 cup Parmesan into pasta and season with salt and pepper to taste. Adjust consistency with remaining reserved cooking water as needed. Serve, sprinkled with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan.

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