This past weekend I was in Brooklyn visiting a girlfriend (hay girl hay!) so I stopped at one of the local vegetable stores (3 Guys From Brooklyn <yes that’s the store name, they’re in Dyker Heights>) and picked up a great big butternut squash.  When I got home, I thought: I’m going to make a sauce out of this.

I did, and here are the results!  

This is a tasty winter dish that makes use of the abbondanza of squashes available this time of year.  The dates add a unexpected sweetness – it’s filling, different and 100% delicious.

What do you think?  Do you like it!?

1 lb. of spaghetti

1 butternut squash

5 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon of butter

4 cloves of garlic, diced

1 shallot, diced

1/2 cup of pignoli nuts

1/2 cup of fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 cup of fresh basil, chopped

1/2 cup of pitted dates, chopped

1 & 1/4 cups of cold water

pinch of salt

few grinds of fresh pepper

1/4 cup of grated locatelli romano cheese

More grated cheese for serving

Preheat the oven to 400.

Cut your butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds.  Place your halves on a sprayed baking sheet, flesh side up.  Brush the tops with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and dot the butter on each half.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake in oven for 35-40 minutes, until flesh can be pricked with a fork and is tender.

While your squash is baking, heat the other 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan on medium heat.  When hot (not smoking), add your garlic and shallots.  Saute until soft and golden, about 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

In another small saucepan, dry toast for your pignolis on low heat.  Stir them constantly (otherwise they’ll burn!) for about 2 minutes until they just start to turn golden.  Remove from heat and set aside.

When the squash is done, remove the squash and scoop it out of the skin.  (Be careful – it’s hot!)

Take the spooned out flesh and put it in a food processor (or blender).

Also add your sauteed garlic and shallots (with the oil you cooked them in), the toasted pignoli nuts, 1/4 cup of grated cheese and the cold water.  Pulse until it’s smooth and fluid (about 3 minutes).  If you feel it’s still a little rich, you can add a few more tablespoons of water and pulse.

When your sauce is done, you can leave it in the food processor while you begin to cook the spaghetti.

In a large stock pot, bring water to a boil and cook your spaghetti until al dente.  About 8-10 minutes.

Drain your spaghetti and put back into the pot that you cooked it in.  Add your butternut sauce and combine.

Add the chopped dates, fresh basil and fresh parsley.