IT’S the time of year when we start to see the golds, oranges and yellows of the squash family appear in our markets and shops. In the run up to Halloween, pumpkins and their relatives begin to feature in autumnal menus. I am a big lover of butternut squash, which as its name suggests, combines a buttery smooth texture with nutty flavours.
This weekend, in The Weekend Foodie column, I’ve used it in a pasta dish that will keep the wolf from the door as the colder months approach.
Try to find a dry cure smoked bacon, which won’t contain as much moisture as normal bacon, which means it crisps better. You’ll find examples from supermarket own ranges of oak or cherrywood smoked bacon, going up to the artisan choices from Baltimore Bacon (cured with treacle) and Gubbeen, smoked in their own farmhouse. There are also great dry cured bacons from McCarthy’s of Kanturk, readily available in many Supervalu stores county-wide. The subtly spicy dressing combined with the roasted butternut squash packs a heap of flavour into what is essentially a simple pasta dinner!
Ingredients (Serves 4)
1 medium squash, seeded, peeled and in chunks
Olive oil for drizzling
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
350g Fusilli pasta
Few basil leaves, chopped Freshly grated
Parmesan cheese to serve
For the dressing:
75mls extra virgin olive oil
3 rashers smoked bacon, chopped
2-3 fat cloves garlic (to taste), peeled and crushed
1 red chilli, finely sliced
Pinch dried red chilli flakes
½ tsp dried oregano
- Place the squash flesh in a roasting tray. Drizzle with oil and season.
- Roast in a pre-heated oven Gas 5 375F 190C for 20 minutes or until soft and caramelised. Turn occasionally to prevent burning.
- Meanwhile cook the pasta in lightly salted boiling water till just al dente.
- Drain, drizzle with olive oil and keep hot.
- When the squash and pasta are ready, heat a splash of olive oil from the dressing recipe in a heavy bottomed skillet. Add the bacon and cook crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towel. Reserve.
- Add the remaining olive oil to the pan with garlic, chilli and oregano. Cook for a minute, stirring.
- Add the squash and cooked pasta and toss to coat in the mix. Season.
- Sprinkle in the bacon and chopped basil. Stir and serve with grated Parmesan cheese on top.
Fusilli pasta 500g €1.86
Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1ltr €4.59
Cherrywood Smoked Dry Cured Bacon 210g pack €2.59