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Penne with Caramelized Onions and Winter Squash

Servings: 9

Use thin-skinned and smaller squash for this recipe in late fall or early winter. This is a nice change from a traditional tomato sauce for pasta. It sings of the flavors of the harvest. Serve a crispy salad with creamy dressing on the side.

Tip: Butternut squash is the easiest squash to peel and cut into cubes; however, any hard winter squash works nicely in this dish. If you find the squash tricky to peel, cut it into chunks or wedges and microwave for 1 to 2 minutes, or place in a 350°F oven for about 5 minutes, to soften the skin.


  • 2tablespoon butter
  • 3 onions halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2teaspoon salt
  • 1/4teaspoon black pepper
  • 4cup squash winter, cut into cubes
  • 1tablespoon sage chopped fresh
  • 1/4cup white wine dry
  • 12ounces penne or use cavatappi or gemelli
  • 2tablespoon olive oil


  1. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, sugar, salt, and pepper; sauté for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring often, for about 15 minutes or until the onions start to turn golden. Stir in the squash and sage. Increase the heat to medium-high and boil, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until the onions are caramelized and the squash is almost tender.

  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta for about 9 minutes or until tender but firm. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot.

  3. Add the wine to the skillet and boil, scraping up any brown bits stuck to the pan. Pour over the pasta in the pot. Add the oil and toss gently to coat, adding just enough of the reserved cooking liquid to moisten to desired consistency. Season to taste with more salt and pepper, as needed