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Weekend Recipe: Penne with Butternut Squash and Brown Butter Sauce

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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