Yesterdish’s Pappardelle With Roasted Squash, Roasted Garlic, and Sage

It’d be a sin to make pasta dough and not use it, right?

Admittedly, I constrained my options to achieve the goal of highlighting the basic pasta dough recipe. I wanted you to get a good look at the resulting noodles, so they had to be big (like pappardelle) and the sauce couldn’t obscure the texture (hence a butter sauce). But that isn’t to suggest this recipe can’t stand on its own merit; heck, I think it stands, walks, and dances the tarantella on its own merit.

The result is a bite that changes in your mouth as you chew and different flavors are expressed, all of them carried by the butter.

The constituent flavors are squash (I used butternut, but it doesn’t have to be), roasted garlic, sage, Parmesan, 82% butterfat butter, and black pepper. You can tell you’re on the path to a good recipe when you could write your ingredients on pieces of paper, throw the pieces into a hat, and know that any three you pick out would work.

About that 82% butterfat butter. Some people call it “European style butter” or “French style butter.” France requires 82% butterfat by law, but most of the brands we find in markets aren’t French at all. Lurpak is Danish, Kerrygold is Irish and Plugra, which bears “European Style” right on its foil wrapper and a name that sounds like the French phrase plus gras, is made by a domestic agricultural cooperative headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri.

By U.S. law, all things identified as butter must be at least 80% butterfat. So does that two percent difference matter? Yes, a lot. Remember, whole milk is 4% fat. The difference between 80% and 82% butter is a lot like the difference between whole milk and 2% milk.

That added richness helps marry the textures of the dish. The squash and garlic are creamy; the sage is crisp, shattering under the slightest pressure; the Parmesan is firm, but crumbles in your mouth; and the pasta has a toothsome resilience that protects the flecks of pepper inside. The result is a bite that changes in your mouth as you chew and different flavors are expressed, all of them carried by the butter.

If you’re the wine-drinking type, this wouldn’t be a bad time to explore some pinot grigio. Again, I’m sorry about my handwriting. And photography. And for any other offense I’ve caused. (I’m not sure what that would’ve been but I find it’s best to apologize first and understand later.)

Oh, and one more note about pappardelle. Traditionally pappardelle would be about 5/8ths of an inch across. Obviously, I’ve made mine much closer to the outer limits of what’s considered acceptable, at about a full inch across. I don’t really believe in using the scalloped edging tool on non-filled pastas, but scalloped edges are a valid option, too.

From Yesterdish’s recipe box.

Yesterdish’s Pappardelle with Roasted Squash, Roasted Garlic and Sage

Per person:
1 egg Basic Pasta Dough
Black Pepper
1 head garlic
1 cup squash, chopped
1 Tbsp. 82% butter [… or two, if you want to finish with one]
20-ish sage leaves

  1. Sprinkle black pepper into pasta while rolling out, before cutting. Cut into ribbons about 1″ wide.
  2. Heat oven to 400 deg. F. Cut 1/2 inch off top of garlic head. Spray with oil; wrap in foil.
  3. Lay squash out on greased, foil-lined baking sheet and spray with oil. Sprinkle with salt.
  4. Roast squash and garlic 35 minutes.
  5. Slightly brown butter while frying sage leaves.* Add squash and garlic; as pasta cools, remove from water into squash pan. Toss.

Garnish with Parmesan shavings.

*For better control, fry sage in olive oil; remove leaves; add butter to hot oil, melt, brown, then add cooled squash and garlic to stop cooking.

A. Goldstein 2-3-2013

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