¼ #      pancetta or bacon, cut into ¼ inch pieces

1 T       freshthyme, minced or 2 t dried

2 ea.     cloves garlic, minced

1          small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ½” dice (about 3 cups)

1 T       unsalted butter

1 ea.    shallot, minced

pinch   crushed red pepper flake (or to taste)

pinch   granulated sugar and fresh nutmeg

1 ½ C   chicken or vegetable stock

½ #      bucatini pasta (or pasta of your choice)

¼ C      parmesan cheese, grated

1 ea.    lemon juice

2 T       walnut, toasted and coarsely chopped

1 T       fresh parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper


Cook pancetta or bacon in a medium skillet until crisp.  Add thyme and sauté for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add garlic and minced shallot and cook, stirring occasionally until softened.  Pour off flavored oil.  Scrape pancetta/thyme mixture from pan and reserve. Add oil back to skillet and heat until shimmering. Add butternut squash and cook until squash is slightly browned and caramelized.  (It is important not to stir the squash too much during this process.  You want to get nice, even browning on the squash but maintain the texture and shape of the cubes.) Add nutmeg, sugar, crushed reds, and butter to the pan. Cook until butter has melted and spices are fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add stock, lower heat and simmer until squash is just barely tender. 

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and reserve 1 C of starchy pasta cooking water. Add cooked and drained pasta back to skillet. Stir in parmesan, lemon juice, and reserved pancetta mixture. Stir gently to combine adding only enough pasta cooking water to achieve desired consistency. Taste for salt and pepper. Transfer to serving bowls and sprinkle with chopped parsley and toasted walnuts and additional parmesan if desired.

Serves 2 generously