Everyone needs a dish they can make on a busy weeknight, with ingredients from any season, that every picky eater at the table will like. For our family, that’s pasta with roasted vegetables. Roasting vegetables can definitely be intimidating for a weeknight, but most of the work is hands-off. The oven does the important job of developing deep, succulent flavor into anything you throw in there.
Last weekend, I picked up the delicata squash that I’d had my eye on at the farmer’s market since they started popping up in early September. Now that the air has been consistently crisp for a few weeks, I’m more than ready for squash season.
Delicata squash is the little darling of the squash family because it does not have to be peeled. Peeling a curvy butternut or bumpy acorn squash piece by piece is a great way to spoil a good mood. Don’t talk to me while I’m peeling the squash. Just don’t. Delicata only needs a rinse and a chop, then it’s ready for a 400 degree oven.
I roast squash at a lower temperature than other vegetables (I usually roast at 425 for broccoli, brussels, etc) because it takes longer to convince a squash to give up it’s earthy crunch for sweet creaminess. Season your squash with hearty herbs like rosemary or thyme (or dried herbes de provence mix if you can’t be bothered with the fresh stuff) before roasting for added complexity.
In this recipe, I kick up the flavor with caramelized onions and prosciutto- two of the greatest flavors on earth. The salty prosciutto, sweet onions, and creamy squash come together under a drizzle of thick, sticky balsamic reduction and a flurry of parmesan cheese. Fresh-grated black pepper is always good on top, and you can add chopped, roasted nuts if you really want to shock and awe. I’m giving you all the steps below, but feel free to take out anything that feels too excessive for a Wednesday. Full disclosure, I really did cook this on a Wednesday and still had time to watch Stranger Things. You’ve got this.
Pasta with Caramelized Onions, Prosciutto, and Delicata Squash
A versatile weeknight dinner with surprising flavors.
Course: Main Course
Keyword: Easy Weeknight Meal, Pasta Dinner
Calories: 419 kcal
What you need
- 2 medium or 1 large delicata squash or however much you want, cubed
- 1 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
- 1 tsp dried thyme or oregano
- 1 lb pasta
- 1/2 cup proscuitto chopped
- 1 yellow onion halved and sliced thin
- balsamic vinaigrette suggested, but you can use pesto or lemon if you'd prefer
- parmesan cheese for topping
- black pepper for topping
- chopped, toasted nuts for topping (I used walnuts, but pecans would be delicious too)
What you do
Roast the squash
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spread out the squash on a large sheet pan, use two if necessary. Drizzle with olive oil, season with about 1 tsp salt, 1 TB rosemary, 1 tsp dried thyme or oregano. Use more or less if you'd like. Pop it in the oven and let it go as you continue with the next steps. (It will take about 20-30 mins in the oven, but just go about the rest of the dinner and periodically check on it. It's ready for you when you're ready for it.)
Boil water in pasta pot, add a palmful of salt when it comes to a boil, and add pasta. Cook according to package directions.
Cook prosciutto and onions
While pasta cooks, cook prosciutto in a large non-stick skillet until crisp, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from skillet using slotted spoon. Add onions, cook on low for about 10-15 minutes, or however long you have until the pasta is ready.
Toss, toss, toss
Once pasta is done, scoop out 1 cup of pasta water and drain the rest, then immediately transfer pasta to skillet with onions. Add salami, a drizzle of olive oil, some pasta water and toss. Toss for at least 1 minute, it's a good pre-dinner workout (more pasta for you!). If your pan is big enough, you can add the squash right in there and toss some more. If not, transfer pasta to large serving bowl before adding squash.
Season and serve
Season with pepper, grate a ton of parm on top, and drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette. It would be best if you had a nice, thick, balsamic reduction, but if you don't you can just whisk up a simple olive oil and balsamic combo (1/3 cup balsamic, 2/3 cup olive oil). I've tried microwaving balsamic vinegar to make a reduction; it has worked once and failed once, so give it a try!