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A recipe for Butternut Squash and Pancetta Orecchiette Butternut Squash and Pancetta Orecchiette recipe Butternut Squash and Pancetta pasta recipe Butternut Squash and Pancetta Orecchiette recipe. Hi Guys! Lets talk “his and her meals” for just a second. Does anyone else partake in this ritual with their partner? It’s funny because my boyfriend and I eat very much alike, yet at the same time so differently. Does this make sense? For example: the fatty goodness part of pork belly? He hates it, I can’t get enough. Baked potato chips? He loves…I’ll pass and go for the kettle cooked ones. Fresh tomatoes of any kind? Yes, please!!…for him, not so much. Avocados?….Um, YUM ALWAYS!!… he likes them, but not in sandwiches. Our sushi choices? He’ll have anything unagi related while I prefer the uni and raw scallops. I could probably go on and on, but you guys get it, right?

So due to our different palates I’ve gotten very accustomed to creating “his and her meals” (sometimes). Now this doesn’t necessarily mean I cook two whole meals because we’re both big brats who won’t compromise with one another, but instead because it usually doesn’t create too much extra work in the kitchen, at times it forces me to get creative, plus I love the guy so why not? :) An example of a “his and her meal” is weekend breakfast. I’m not the biggest morning eater, but my boyfriend loves a nice big breakfast so I’ll usually make him eggs of some sort, turkey bacon and toast. I myself will have some Greek yogurt and a slice of turkey bacon. Or if we’re grilling steaks, I’ll usually have mine sliced over a dinner salad while he’ll eat his with a side of baked sweet potato fries, some garlic bread and his salad will be a small one on the side. Does anyone else do this…or are we just freaks??
One thing we differ in is our taste for pasta sauces. He loves himself a good cream sauce; alfredo, carbonara, etc. if it’s creamy he’ll probably love it. I on the other hand go a little crazy for a really nice garlic and olive oil sauce or a super fresh pesto….anything with a punch of flavor. This finally takes me to today’s recipe! I like to think of this pasta as the pasta that brings us both together, creating one awesome super meal! :) It’s pretty much a sauceless pasta with the exception of the egg yolk/pasta water mixture which adds that slightly creamy texture to the overall dish. The egg yolk and pasta water combo really make a diluted cream sauce, so it’s kind of like carbonara, but much much lighter and there’s just enough to stick to the pasta itself. I use pecorino romano in this dish because I like that it’s has a sharper taste than parmigiano reggiano. A lot of people think that pecorino romano is just a cheaper substitute for parmesan, but it’s not. Pecorino is made of sheeps milk, giving it that stronger, more pungent flavor while parmesan is made of cows milk, more mild and nutty. Just a quick and fun food fact.
This pasta has become my new favorite pasta and I think the saffron is what really does it for me. It’s subtle, fragrant and just really freakin’ good….that with the pancetta and squash? Done deal! I hope some of you guys out there also know what it’s like to experience “his and her meals” (or whatever floats your boat!) and maybe this pasta will act as that super meal like it has for my boyfriend and I. Enjoy! xx, Jenny
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Butternut Squash and Pancetta Orecchiette
Serves 3 to 4

1 lb orecchiette pasta
3 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 ounces pancetta, diced
1 shallot, diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, peeled and diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2/3 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced
8 to 10 threads saffron
1 tablespoon minced thyme
2 teaspoons thinly sliced chives
2 egg yolks
1 cup pasta water
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano, plus more for garnish
salt and pepper to taste

1. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Once the water has been brought to a boil, add pasta and stir. Cook pasta until al dente, drain (reserving 3/4 cup pasta water), toss with 1/2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and set aside.
2. Pour 1 tablespoon of oil into a large sauté pan and place over medium-high heat. Add pancetta and sauté for 3 minutes. Drain pancetta onto paper towels and set aside.
3. Pour remaining oil to pan and sauté shallots for 1 minute. Add carrots, celery and garlic and continue to sauté for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Add the squash and continue to sauté for an additional 3 to 4 minutes.
5. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, stir in the saffron threads and cook until the liquid has almost disappeared or until the squash has softened.
6. Return pancetta to the pan, with the vegetable mixture and stir in the orecchiette until well combined.
7. Reduce the heat to medium-low and gently fold in the herbs.
8. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and pasta water. Pour the mixture over the pasta and stir together. Sprinkle cheese over pasta and stir until just combined. Adjust seasonings and serve with extra Pecorino sprinkled on top.


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  1. Pauline Wiles Not Specified Not Specified

    Oh my gosh, I often see recipes on line and vaguely intend to make them someday, but this is a must!

    And yes, I do identify with his & hers meals. I’m quite happy with a vegetarian dish – like a lentil stew, or risotto – as my whole meal, but for hubby, I’ll cook a ham steak or chicken kiev or something to make it more appealing.

  2. Me, Ed and Pea Not Specified Not Specified

    Gorgeous photos! The food looks amazing.

  3. Averie @ Averie Cooks Not Specified Not Specified

    Awesome recipe and even more adorable plates! I love these! Seriously if you ever have a props

  4. Averie @ Averie Cooks Not Specified Not Specified

    sent too fast…

    If you ever have a props ‘garage sale’, I’d be your best customer! Adorable dishes, as always!

  5. Katie @ Blonde Ambition Not Specified Not Specified

    Usually the BF and I eat the same dishes….it’s just normally in much different quantities. For example, we’ll both have sandwiches… For me, it’ll be heavy on the veggies and lettuce, while his sandwich is stuffed with 3/4 of whatever meat we made and dripping with cheese :D

    We are exactly the same way as you two are as far as pasta sauces though! My guy loves him some saucy sauce, and I love a simple combo of pasta water + a sprinkle of cheese. So this would be a great happy medium for us too!

  6. Eileen Not Specified Not Specified

    We do a little bit of his & her cooking because he’s a vegetarian and I eat meat, but most of the time it’s all vegetarian food for us, all the time. And it’s delicious! This orecchiette sounds like a really good way to use the amazing new winter squash!

  7. Misha Not Specified Not Specified

    Your post was adorable. I completely have that same conundrum with my boyfriend, but never thought of how we could tailor the same meal to two people. Instead, I’m just gaining weight hand over fist! You inspired me to do what you’re doing…and I love the fall recipe! I’m definitely going to try it.

  8. Kitty Not Specified Not Specified

    I love this! I’ve never even thought of this, because the only thing my husband and I realllly have in common is our taste in food. This dish looks like something we would both enjoy!

  9. Carrie @ Kiss My Whisk Not Specified Not Specified

    We don’t do the his & her meals, we have similar tastes, but I do make an effort to make one meal a week that is more ‘his’, but I really enjoy those ‘his’ meals too. Cheesesteaks anyone? This recipe would definitely work for both of us!

  10. emily@totesdelishy Not Specified Not Specified

    We have his-and-hers greasy delivery movie night. He will order Chinese and I’ll grab some pizza.

  11. Yelle Not Specified Not Specified

    Sounds absolutely delicious! I would have never thought to them together, but it sounds so right now!

  12. ABCcedille Not Specified Not Specified

    Your photos are so beautiful! And it looks so good!

  13. Leah Not Specified Not Specified

    We totally do his and her meals – I’m the same with my salad and protein and he usually does a smaller salad with some extra starches. I loooove butternut squash in pasta and lighter carbonara-like sauces – will definitely be making this ASAP!

  14. Pia Bineau Not Specified Not Specified

    Stunning photos! This dish looks super tasty :)

  15. Liondragoncustom Not Specified Not Specified

    Thanks for the link (& pinning) love! I’ve been a fan of your work and shop!

  16. Toni Not Specified Not Specified

    I used to eat Orechiette in the South of Italy all the time. They make them with a broad bean puree and extra virgin olive oil there. I absolutely love your idea of using seasonal ingredients and turning a summer dish into an autumn one. Thanks for sharing.


  17. Rachelle Not Specified Not Specified

    I do his and hers meals to a smaller extent. I won’t make anything separate for my boyfriend, but if we’re having pasta or a salad I love to put all sorts of veggies and cheeses in mine and he prefers his plain. I usually serve his up and then add whatever I want to my plate. There are lots of things he won’t eat that I LOVE, so whenever we go out or at lunch I’ll get my fix of avocado, tomatoes, blue cheese, etc!

  18. erin @WELLinLA Not Specified Not Specified

    He or She who does the shopping gets to be in charge of what’s on the table and in the kitchen! After 7 years we’re merging more of our tastes and finding a middle ground. I have a few food allergies, which makes for “his and hers” by default. But overall it helps that we’re both adventurous eaters, that we both respect each others schedules of eating and preferred style of eating, too!

    BTW – this meal totally qualifies as a middle ground. Makin’ it!

  19. Jordan Duke Not Specified Not Specified

    Wow! What a lucky guy. And even more so to have someone so talented by his side.

  20. PolaM Not Specified Not Specified

    Love this pasta! And those dishes are super cute!

  21. Fiona Not Specified Not Specified

    This Orecchiette looks wonderful. The combination of sautéd squash, a little crisp pancetta and a light creamy sauce sounds perfect for one of those crisp autumn days when the sun is out but you still need something comforting to keep you warm. I’ve managed to coax my ‘him’ into my loving of food and cooking and we usually eat the same meals, alternating between his likes and mine, although we still have very different tastes when it comes to puddings

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  25. Wendy Not Specified Not Specified

    I made this last night for my family and it turned out delicious! Even the kids liked it! Thank you so much for sharing.