It wasn't until recent years I learned that not all pasta sauces fall into the categories of "red" and "alfredo" and that pasta water was a key ingredient in sauce formation. Today's recipe, which is so easy it's more of an idea rather than a true recipe, is a pasta dish that is so lightly sauced that you'd wonder if it had any sauce at all. The brilliance of this method includes a simple, short ingredient list and the vegetables play a sort of lead role. All flavors are individually experienced, and yet everything works so well together.
I saw this recipe in the January/February issue of Everyday Food and have already made it twice. It's simple, relatively quick, and makes me smile as I eat it. Made as written, the recipe is under 500 calories per serving. I did make this pretty much as written, but think that hearty eaters would benefit from the addition of some cooked cubed chicken to increase the protein and therefore the food's "staying power." I happened to have some fontina cheese from an earlier recipe, but if you don't have fontina, use swiss or mozzarella- most any mild white cheese would do. I also didn't have short ridged pasta, but I had some campanelle, so I subbed it and that worked great- I think most any smaller pasta would work here, but the ridges do help to grab onto sauce.
Roasted Red Onion and Squash Pasta
from January/February 2011 Everyday Light
1 Tb. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
2 red onions, cut into 6-8 wedges each
1 Tb coarsely chopped fresh sage leaves (or 1.5 tsp. dried)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lb short ridged pasta, such as rigatoni
1/4 cup or 2 oz. grated fontina cheese
Preheat your oven to 450. On a baking sheet, toss together the squash,sage, and onion with the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for about 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring or tossing halfway through.
Meanwhile, heat a large pot of water. When it reaches a boil, salt the water well and toss in your pasta. Cook until al dente or to your taste (somewhere around 10 mintues). Reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water and then drain the pasta. Return to the pot with the roasted vegetables and the cheese. Stir, slowly adding in the pasta water until there is a thin sauce. Top with grated or shaved parmesan cheese.