Butternut Squash Pasta with Fried Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta

Butternut Squash Pasta with Fried Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta

My husband says that the worse a television show is, the more likely I am to fall in love with it. I can’t even defend myself against this accusation because, well, it’s true. The past month has been pretty miserable and I’ve been wondering how on Earth I’m going to survive until January before a new version of the Bachelor is back on television (#realworldproblems), but tonight I found my answer. It’s called 90 Day Fiancé and I owe my thanks to TLC for this beauty of a show. Or I guess train wreck of a show is more like it. It’s incredible in the most horrible way possible and the only way you’ll enjoy it is if you too love ridiculously bad television. As if 90 Day Fiancé isn’t bad enough, My Five Wives comes on after it… So, you can really see the kind of TV we’re dealing with here.

But whatever; just because something doesn’t necessarily have the best reputation doesn’t mean it can’t be totally enjoyable. Take brussels sprouts, for example. Lots of people can’t stand them, my husband included. But when I fried them up for this pasta dish, he changed his mind. He also isn’t a big squash lover… But claimed this pasta with butternut squash sauce was delicious. You know, it’s kind of like that time I forced him to watch Rich Kids of Beverly Hills and he ended up getting addicted (but shhhh I didn’t tell you that). There’s a place in life for these sorts of things.

Butternut Squash Pasta with Fried Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta (serves 4):
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  • 1 1/2 lb. butternut squash, chopped into cubes
  • 3 T Olive oil
  • 1 1/2 t finely chopped sage
  • 3/4 T red pepper flakes
  • 1 C milk
  • 1C water
  • 3/4 C parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  • 12 brussels Sprouts, ends trimmed and quartered
  • Canola oil
  • 2 oz. pancetta, chopped
  • 1/2 lb. whole wheat farfalle pasta

(pre-heat oven to 400 degrees)

Butternut Squash Pasta with Fried Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta Ingredients

Toss butternut squash cubes with olive oil, sage, and red pepper flakes.

Butternut Squash Olive Oil

Spread the squash on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes minutes.

Butternut Squash Baked

Puree squash in blender. Add milk, water, and 3/4 C parmesan and blend together.

Pureed Squash

Put squash puree in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

Next up, let’s get those brussels sprouts fried! Pour about 2 inches of canola oil into a large pot or wok and heat canola to 350 degrees.

Frying Oil

Once oil reaches 350 degrees, drop in about half the brussels sprouts, being sure not to overcrowd. Let fry until golden brown (this should only take about a minute). My sprouts definitely fell apart quite a bit, but it was no big deal.

Brussels Sprouts Frying

And remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Make sure the oil temperature is back up to 350 degrees before frying the second batch.

Fried Brussels Sprouts

I decided to crisp up my pancetta in a frying pan for a few minutes.

Pancetta Frying

Then I boiled the pasta until it was al dente. I drained it and put it back in the pot.

And mixed in the fried brussels sprouts and pancetta.

Pasta Ingredients

Coat the pasta in the butternut squash sauce, to your liking. You don’t have to use all of it!

Sprinkle more parmesan cheese over the top. Because there’s no such thing as too much.

Butternut Squash Pasta with Fried Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta 1

In fact, it’s probably a good idea if you have some leftover butternut squash sauce because you’re going to want to put it on everything. Then again, you’ll probably want to sprinkle fried brussels sprouts all over everything, too.

Butternut Squash Pasta with Fried Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta 5

That sounds weird, though… Because you probably won’t want to sprinkle fried brussels sprouts onto cereal or ice cream. Just into your mouth, basically.

Butternut Squash Pasta with Fried Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta 2

My idea of the best night ever is an evening on the couch watching really, really bad TV with a big bowl of this on my lap. Probably with a fire going, too, since this is clearly an autumn dish.

Butternut Squash Pasta with Fried Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta 3

You can’t leave out the awesomeness of the pancetta in this dish either. There wasn’t a ton of it, but just enough to add a little bit of saltiness and some meat to an otherwise vegetarian dish. Big fan.

Butternut Squash Pasta with Fried Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta 15

I honestly loved everything about this meal. I can’t even remember the last time I made a pasta dish and it legit used to be the only thing I ever made. I have a feeling I’m going to have to re-introduce pasta dishes like this back into my life this winter since they’re perfect for late nights at work and bringing to the office for lunch.

Butternut Squash Pasta with Fried Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta 4

And when done right, they’re anything but boring. I actually think I’m going to keep a mason jar of butternut squash sauce in my fridge from now on. And maybe even a tupperware full of fried brussels sprouts, too.

Butternut Squash Pasta with Fried Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta 7

So, you see? Just because something has a not-so-great reputation doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not absolutely awesome. I guess it’s not really fair for me to compare food like brussels sprouts to television shows like 90 Day Fiancé, but I’m doing it. You may think you’re not a fan, but try them and I know you’ll be sucked in. You’ll never look back.

Butternut Squash Pasta with Fried Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta 9

And your life will feel even more complete. I promise. Just watch TLC on Sunday’s at 9:00 and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Are you obsessed with any really bad TV shows?


25 Responses to "Butternut Squash Pasta with Fried Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta"

  1. Wow. So you’re the reason why we get shows like 90 Day Fiancé! Sorry, but I’m with your hubs here. I can’t help but relate to him especially with my wife and her addiction to Teen Mom.

    But, I did love the segway and how you tired it in with the dish! I see what you were trying to do but that wasn’t a compelling way to talk me into brussel sprouts.

    Despite it, the pasta sounds great!! Like you said, perfect for fall. And no, no one can ever have enough parmesan.

  2. This sounds like a delicious fall dish…a nice combination of flavors.

  3. Megan says:

    This looks amazing!! Just pinned it.

  4. This pasta looks fantastic, Sue! I love the combination of butternut squash and brussel sprouts. Sounds like the perfect comfort food to me! And gorgeous pictures, too!

  5. Sues says:

    @Los if it makes a difference 90 Day Fiancé is on its second season and I didn’t hear about it until last night… So, I’m definitely not responsible for season 2! But yes, guilty as charged 🙂

  6. Duchess says:

    First time writing and therefore first time letting you know that I really am enjoying your blog!

    I am wondering what you would think of roasting the sprouts? Hot oil and frying scare me.

  7. what a great pasta dish! love it.

  8. Odetta says:

    Delicious! I’m feeling everything about this dish!!!

  9. I am reading this post while I am eating a (now sad-looking) bowl of roasted brussels sprouts. I mean, fried is way better! And butternut squash pasta with pancetta?? I’m going to have to watch reruns of Keeping Up with the Kardashians to distract myself from this sudden intense craving for this.

  10. Sues says:

    @Duchess- Thank you so much!! And yes! You can definitely make this with roasted brussels sprouts. I totally understand your fear of hot oil and frying; it took me a long time to get comfortable with it (and lots of doughnut cravings!), but I love roasted brussels, too 🙂

  11. Meghan says:

    This looks so good!! I am a huge fan of nights in and bad TV. Watching Below Deck now.

  12. Barbara says:

    What a great fall dish, Sues! I love sprouts with pancetta…such a super idea to add squash and pasta to make a complete meal.

  13. This looks to die for. I’m thinking of all the ways to use that butternut squash sauce! I hear ya on the bachelor/bachelorette seasons. They’re just so smart to use the next one as somebody we “know”….I’ll never be able to break away.

  14. Sues says:

    @Emily- So true! They’re totally tricking us and I’m too weak to break away 🙂

  15. Love the sound of combining brussels sprouts and butternut and let’s not forget that crispy pancetta!

  16. haha, I seem to be addicted to bad tv too. This pasta is in noooooo way bad! It looks so yummy. Especially that sauce!

  17. Pam says:

    Drooling! What a fantastic looking pasta dish.

  18. lena says:

    hi sues, looks like you’re converting your husband to the things you like too ..hahaha….your pasta dish looks good, love the creamy sauce too!

  19. Love this meal! I have watched more than my share of the Bacheleor shows…lol!

  20. My love of bad tv is so bad, we had to get rid of bad tv. I can tell you ALL about all the real housewives. Algebra escapes me, but reality tv drama, I got this. Embarrassing!
    Anyway, this pasta is exactly what I want to curl up on the couch with and watch pirated episodes of trash tv on my mac with 😉

  21. Beth says:

    Sues brought this over to my house for dinner one night and I can vouch for her that this dish will make you look at brussels sprouts differently! Also – new terrible show? Why didn’t you tell me sooner 🙂

  22. there is so much good stuff going on in this pasta. I love the squash the sprouts the pancetta! It truly looks delicious

  23. Brussels Sprouts belong deeply in my heart so I’m all over this pasta recipe. And with pancetta!?!? PERFECT!

  24. Joanne says:

    OMG, we have identical tv tastes. And, based on this pasta, identical food tastes. Having a bowl of this while watching an episode of Rich Kids of Bev Hills would make my week.

  25. Ha ha, I’m such a fan of bad tv, too! I just can’t look away! This dish sounds fantastic and so perfect for fall. I’ve never fried brussels sprouts but I think I’d really like them. Gotta make this one!

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