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Butternut and guanciale pasta

Butternut and guanciale calamarata pasta with parmesan
If you could have a dish reminiscent of carbonara AND eat your veg, that'd be a no-brainer, right ? Well, there you have it. And there is absolutely no sacrifice flavour-wise. I'd say you could eat it without guanciale for my fellow vegetarian friends, because the magic happens with this creamy butternut sauce paired with lemon zest. Squash and lemon is a classic association that does not disappoint. Of course though, the guanciale adds some decadent flavour to these nutty, fruity pasta. Have at it. And send me love messages when you're done.

Butternut and guanciale pasta - Recipe

Most of my recommendations here are similar to those on the Authentic Carbonara recipe.

Ingredients - Advice & key points

I usually go to Eataly to get the produce I need. If you don't have one near your location, you can find fresh produce like guanciale and pecorino at your local Italian deli, maybe even your pasta. For pasta, if not available there, you should be able to order it online quite easily.
  • Pasta :
    • I believe calamarata is a grat choice here, as the sauce will nestle in the pasta's holes, but you could also use another type you have on hand, preferably short (because the sauce is heavy).
    • If you chose to sieve your sauce though, it will get much thinner, so you can opt for long pasta.
What you must not compromise on is using Bronze Drawn pasta. Why so ? Because when processed this way, the pasta will present small irregularities that will enable the sauce to cling to it.
  • Guanciale : You can buy it in blocks at your deli or have it pre-sliced. We want quite thin slices -not paper-thin, but almost- so that they crisp up in the pan, about 1,5cm x 4cm.

Cooking your pasta - Pieces of advice

  • Pasta :
    • While 10g of salt/liter is usually recommended, here I'd recommend only 7g/liter because of the guanciale.
    • As for most pasta recipe, we'll finish cooking the pasta in the pan with the sauce. Contrary to classic carbonara, we'll just put them in for the last 4 minutes (there is not as much water here and we don't want risking the sauce to be too watery).   
    • It is important that you taste several times starting 2 minutes before the packet theoretical time, so that you get perfect al dente pasta
  • Guanciale :
    • You want to crisp it up, but still let the fat melt. Therefore, cook on medium heat. The process should last around 6 to 7 minutes.
  • Plating :
    • I recommend heating your plates in the oven for 10 minutes at 80°C before plating. This will keep your pasta warm longer and will prevent the sauce from getting cold too quickly and become unappealingly “set”.
Now come and cook !
Cooking Method ,
Difficulty Beginner
Prep Time: 15 min Cook Time: 30 min Total Time: 45 mins
Servings 1
Best Season Winter

Moist pasta drenched in a fruity, nutty butternut sauce. The simple addition of lemon zest takes it to another level.

Add crispy guanciale and pecorino and be extremely happy about your life.   

  • 90 grams short pasta ((calamarata here))
  • 50 grams guanciale (cut into thin strips)
  • 1/4 butternut (diced, boiled then puréed)
  • 4 sage leaves (dry or fresh)
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 10 grams Pecorino (grated)
  • 10 grams Butter
  • 1/2 lemon (zested)
  1. Prep your ingredients

    Fill half a pot with water and bring it to a boil.

    Meanwhile :

    1. Peel and dice your butternut in chunks.
    2. Slice your guanciale into thin strips.  

    Add your butternut to your pot. 

    10 minutes in, fill another pot with water and bring it to a boil.

    After around 15 minutes of cooking, strain your butternut and allow it to cool.

    Don't forget to heavily salt your butternut water (12g/liter of water), else it will be tasteless.
  2. Purée your butternut

    Salt your boiling water, then add your pasta.

    To a cold pan, add your guanciale with your sage leaves . Start cooking on medium heat.

    While everything cooks, blend your butternut using a mixer. Add your heavy cream ; mix again.

  3. Cook your pasta and your guanciale

    When your guanciale is cooked (6-7 minutes in), remove from heat. Remove half of your guanciale and reserve into a plate. 

    4 minutes before the end of the theoretical pasta cooking time, remove them from their pot with tongs and add them to the pan with the guanciale on medium to high heat. 

  4. Assemble everything in the pan

    Add ~ 4 heaped tbsp of butternut purée. 

    Add around 1 and 1/2 ladle of pasta water. Stir. 

    By the end of your 4 minutes, add your butter. Stir.

    Check your sauce -if it is too thick, add a bit of pasta water.

  5. Serve !

    Take your plates out of the oven and serve your pasta immediately.

    Add your lemon zest.

    Pour the reserved crisped guanciale over your pasta. Sprinkle your Pecorino.

    Et voilà !! You're done ! 

    Try not to skip the lemon zest, it is important here.
  • I advise you to cook the whole butternut and repurpose your leftover purée later, to make this recipe again, go with a piece of fish or to make my autumn mini pizzas (ajouter lien). Besides, it freezes well.
  • You can strain the sauce once blended if you want a thinner, lump-free sauce. And if you have a high-power blender, unlike me, you might not even need to ! 
Keywords: home made, pasta, butternut, guanciale, comforting

Thank you for trying out this recipe ! Do not hesitate to leave some feedback. I hope it brightened your day.