guanciale, shallot, squash, grenada pepper, sage carbonara

I had some very good winter squash on the window sill, with no plan to use it soon. I was expecting Thursday to be a pasta day. I looked on line for ideas on how to combine both interestingly.

I quickly found three or four promising recipes. None of them seemed quite right however. I composed one myself, using elements from each of them.

  • a tablespoon and a half of olive oil heated inside a large antique tin-lined copper pot over medium-high heat, roughly 3 ounces of medium (half inch) cubed guanciale added and the flame reduced to medium, the pork cooked, stirring occasionally, only until it had softened slightly and colored, then one small chopped green/yellow (that is, not fully ripened) Grenada seasoning pepper from Eckerton Hill farm tossed in and heated only until it had softened and become even more pungent than it already is when raw, a tablespoon or more of roughly chopped fresh sage added and stirred to coat, then, using a slotted wooden spoon, guanciale and sage transferred to a small bowl and set aside while, and ideally kept warm, then 10 or more ounces of cubed winter squash (Jester squash from Bauma’s Market in Bordentown, NJ, and purchased in the Union Square Greenmarket), added to the pot, along with one medium chopped shallot and one clove of chopped garlic, the vegetables seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, cooked, stirring occasionally, until the onion was translucent, when it was joined by 8 ounces of Setaro Campania penne rigate from Buon Italia in Chelsea Market, cooked al dente, and everything tossed together well, some reserved pasta cooking water added to the mix and stirred over a medium to high flame until the sauce had coated the pasta well, several tablespoons of shredded Pecorino cheese stirred in and the pasta seasoned to taste with salt and pepper, served in shallow bowls topped with the previously reserved guanciale and sage, topped with some shaved Pecorino, and more pepper
  • the wine was an Italian (Piedmont), Dolcetto d’Alba 2019 
  • the music was the album, ‘Dai Fujikura; by ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble), a 2004 release on the label Kairos