Attention everyone! This should be your next pasta night recipe. Here are my supporting arguments:
- Smooth and rich like an alfredo but without the dairy and calorie count
- Vegetable bonus blended right into the sauce
- A lot less fat content than regular alfredo
- Cloud-like whipped ricotta (okay, it’s dairy, but some things are just worth it)
That is all. Hopefully you are convinced.
This recipe starts like any good vegetarian recipe – with a few cups of roasted vegetables. So sharpen your knife and start cubin’ up that butternut squash, add a few sage leaves, do the drizzy with some EVOO and season with S & P! Pop it in the oven and forget about it (well, for 20 minutes, until you have to give ’em a toss)!
In the meantime, throw some fettuccine into a pot of heavily salted boiling water and cook until al dente.
When the squash is slightly caramelized and tender, remove from oven and let’s start the transformation from solid –> liquid(ish). Grab your blender – I use my Ninja for everything…it is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. – transfer the squash and some veggie stock and blend until smooth.
On the same sheet tray that you had the squash on, add two tablespoons of breadcrumbs and a quarter cup of chopped walnuts and put back into the oven to toast up. This only takes a few minutes, so watch carefully! When browned, remove from oven and toss in a few finely chopped sage leaves and some melted butter and set aside…YUM.
Let’s continue shall we…I’m drooling. Okay – grab a pan, heat some olive oil and saute some diced shallots until transparent. Add in a few cloves of minced garlic and it’s ready for the sauce. Pour in the butternut squash puree and add some more stock to the pan, cooking and stirring until smooth and combined.
Next, add half of a cup of canned coconut milk and simmer for a few minutes until sauce has thickened.
While the sauce is finishing, grab your ricotta from the fridge and beat with a hand mixer with 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Whip until it is smooth and creamy and spreadable and marvelous.
The Grand Finale: When the sauce coats the back of a spoon, it’s ready for it’s best friend – pasta – to join it in the pan. Toss the pasta around with a pair of tongs and be sure to coat every last strand with that velvety sauce. Turn the heat off and add a squeeze of lemon juice to bring it altogether.
Plating: Start with the whipped ricotta. Maybe even be fancy and make a little “swoop” on your plate!
Next, add the fettuccine, and then top with the bread crumb/walnut mixture. And now it’s time to manger, manger (that’s French, mmmm kay?!)!
One question – Are you a “use a spoon to assist in the delicate twirling of the noodles around your fork” kind of person, or a “shove noodles in mouth as quickly as possible, I’m not worried about whether they are hanging from my mouth” kind of person? Because I’m definitely number two.
^ A twirling attempt…strictly for pictures.
Easy Butternut Squash Fettuccine “Alfredo” with Whipped Ricotta
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
- Olive oil
- 3 cups of butternut squash, cubed
- 6-8 sage leaves, separated
- 325 g fettuccine (or 4 serving sizes)
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 1.5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, separated
- 2 tbsp bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp butter, melted
- 1 cup vegetable stock, separated
- 1 shallot, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup canned coconut milk
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and add squash, 1 tbsp olive oil, 3-4 sage leaves, a few pinches of salt and some fresh black pepper and toss to coat. Place in the oven and roast for 30-40 minutes or until you see slightly caramelized edges and squash is fork-tender.
- Meanwhile, bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil and add fettuccine. Cook until the pasta is al dente (according to package directions…or taste one)! Reserve one quarter cup of the pasta water and then drain the fettuccine and set aside.
- For the whipped ricotta: Add ricotta, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper to a medium bowl. Use a hand mixer and whip on medium speed until ricotta is smooth and fluffy – about 3-4 minutes. Place in fridge to keep cool.
- For the crumb topping: On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, toast the bread crumbs and walnuts in the oven for about 5-8 minutes, or until golden brown. Watch carefully so they don’t burn. Remove from oven and add 3-4 finely chopped sage leaves and the melted butter. Toss and set aside.
- When the squash is done cooking transfer to a blender (don’t discard the sage leaves, transfer to blender as well) and add 1/2 cup of vegetable stock. Blend until smooth.
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan over medium-low heat. Add the shallot and saute for a few minutes until it starts to turn translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Pour the blended squash into the pan and add the quarter cup of pasta water and the other 1/2 cup of stock, stirring for a few minutes until smooth. Add the coconut milk and simmer until it thickens and coats the back of a metal spoon. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice overtop of the sauce and then add the pasta. Turn the heat off and toss the pasta around until coated with the sauce.
- To plate, spread some whipped ricotta on the bottom of your plate. Add the pasta on top and then sprinkle with the bread crumb/walnut crumble. Bravo!