Pappardelle with Roasted Butternut Squash, Pancetta, Mascarpone & Sage

Photo with package

A few months ago, my friend, the wildly talented food blogger, Adri Barr Crocetti, sent me the link for Delverde’s “Dish Your Blog” recipe challenge. The artisanal pasta company is based in Fara San Martino, on the other side of the Majella mountain from my village of Salle.  Delverde has been my preferred pasta brand for years and I commonly see packages of Delverde pasta lining the pantry shelves of my discerning neighbors in Abruzzo as well.Delverde badge

Inspired by a pasta dish I enjoyed in Florence this past summer, I selected Delverde’s Pappardelle Nests and paired the wide pasta ribbons with a condimento of sweet roasted butternut squash, salty pancetta, sautéed shallots and fresh sage. I finished the dish with a little trick I learned from a trattoria on the Oltrarno – a dollop of mascarpone. The Italian cream cheese gently marries the sauce to the pasta without the weightiness or “milky” taste of heavy cream. It’s a lovely and luscious homage to fall flavors and would work equally well with Delverde’s Rigatoni or Mezzi Rigatoni.  Buon appetito!

Photo with ingredients

Pappardelle with Roasted Butternut Squash, Pancetta, Mascarpone & Crispy Sage

Recipe by Majella Home Cooking ©

Serves 4

  • One 1½ pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into a 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 12 whole sage leaves
  • 1 package of Delverde N°83 Pappardelle Nests (250 g)
  • 3 ounces diced pancetta
  • 2 shallots, very thinly sliced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of mascarpone
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for serving

Preheat the oven to 425°. On a medium, rimmed baking sheet lined with a silicone liner or parchment paper, toss the squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and a teaspoon of salt. Roast for 15-20 minutes, tossing once, until lightly browned and tender.

While the butternut squash is roasting, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. At the same time, in a large skillet over moderate heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the sage leaves and fry until crisp, about 20 seconds. Gently transfer the sage leaves with a fork to a plate lined with paper towels, sprinkle with sea salt and set aside.

    Crispy, fried sage leaves give a slight crunch to this creamy, luscious pasta dish

Crispy, fried sage leaves give a slight crunch to this creamy, luscious pasta dish

To the skillet, add the pancetta and cook over moderate heat until lightly browned, stirring often, about 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta from the skillet and set aside.  (Doing so will prevent the pancetta from becoming too chewy.) Next, add the shallots, ½ teaspoon of salt and several grindings of black pepper to the skillet and cook until the shallots are soft and caramelized, stirring often, about 4 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the reserved pancetta and roasted squash to the skillet and set aside while you cook the pasta.


When the pasta water reaches a boil, cook the Delverde Pappardelle Nests for 5 minutes (two minutes less than indicated by the package instructions as you’ll finish cooking the pasta “in padella” – in the pan – along with the sauce). Drain, reserving one cup of the cooking water.

To the skillet, add the pasta and reserved cooking water and cook over moderate heat, tossing gently, until the sauce is thickened and the pasta is al dente, about 1-2 minutes; season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.  Turn off the heat, stir in the mascarpone and gently toss until it is incorporated throughout. Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl or to individual bowls and top with the crispy sage leaves.  Serve the pasta with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Buon appetito!


This recipe is posted as an entry in the Delverde DISH YOUR BLOG recipe contest to try to win a trip to NYC.  Some entrants may have received free sample products in addition to the opportunity to compete for the prize.


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17 thoughts on “Pappardelle with Roasted Butternut Squash, Pancetta, Mascarpone & Sage

  1. theamateurcamera October 1, 2013 at 12:46 pm Reply

    Just come in from work and saw your post… one look at the finished dish and my taste buds are going into overdrive! I’m off to get my ingredients! 🙂

    • Majella Home Cooking October 1, 2013 at 1:02 pm Reply

      Thank you! It’s one of my all-time favorites pasta creations and this recent addition of mascarpone has added such a lovely layer. Buon appetito!

  2. Louisa @ My Family & Abruzzo October 1, 2013 at 1:26 pm Reply

    That looks utterly delicious, like Autumn in a bowl!

    • Majella Home Cooking October 1, 2013 at 3:11 pm Reply

      Indeed, Louisa! What’s funny is that it feels like summer here in New York!

  3. Kat at travelgardeneat October 1, 2013 at 1:35 pm Reply

    This looks fabulous — and such a perfect use of the seasonal squash! I assume Delverde has ended their contest now that you have won?!? 🙂

    • Majella Home Cooking October 1, 2013 at 3:10 pm Reply

      Ha! Thanks, Kat. You’re too kind. There are so many delicious entries. I’m just glad I got mine in right under the wire! However, this dish is probably my favorite ode to fall. Hope you enjoy it too!

  4. Phyllis @ Oracibo October 1, 2013 at 4:52 pm Reply

    It’s squash time again! I have a recipe on my blog for one made with duck confit, butternut squash & sage! Next time I make it, I will be frying the sage leaves like you have and trying with the mascarpone and reducing the amount of stock. I often add a dollop of butter at the end but I really like the slightly cultured taste mascarpone lends. Imported Italian butter here costs $30 for 500g! Looks delicious! Thanks Michelle!

    • Majella Home Cooking October 2, 2013 at 6:36 pm Reply

      Sounds delicious, Phyllis. Italian butter is pretty pricey here but NOT that much…WOW! The mascarpone was such a great little trick I learned. Love the delicate texture it gives to the dish. A presto! Michelle

  5. Adri October 2, 2013 at 12:16 am Reply

    What a fab dish! This one say “It’s autumn!” to me. That pappardelle looks great – light and tender. I love th elittel chnks of squash, and the sage is perfect. Thank you so much for the shout out. What kind words. I am truly flattered.

    I too am a mascarpone fan. You re so right about how it finishes a dish. It is also a terrific stabilizer for whipped cream. I’d say it enriches the cream, but then I’d just be guilty of gilding the lily…

    Best of luck in the contest. I bet the judges are going to like this one. I have to say that all of us participating in the same thing has been great fun. We need to do more of this.

    • Majella Home Cooking October 2, 2013 at 6:33 pm Reply

      Thanks, Adri. So glad you thought of me. I’d never done this sort of thing before, but it was fun to get a little creative in the kitchen and see what other lovely and tasty dishes others shared. As for mascarpone, I’m also a big fan. The dish in Florence I enjoyed consisted of pappardelle, zucchini and tomatoes. I couldn’t put my finger on what made it only slightly creamy and asked the waitress. Eccolo, mascarpone!

  6. frankieandgiuseppe October 2, 2013 at 7:01 am Reply

    Yum! Any tips for something to replace the pancetta for a veggie version? Long live artisinal pasta producers; none of that Barilla nonsense!

    • Phyllis @ Oracibo October 2, 2013 at 3:26 pm Reply

      Agreed…long live artisanal producers. Have never been a fan of Barilla, think their pasta not very good OK maybe cheaply made, not good flour, etc. And now…well…

    • Majella Home Cooking October 2, 2013 at 6:47 pm Reply

      Thank you! The pancetta adds a saltiness that is needed to balance the sweet butternut squash and caramelized shallots. As an alternative, how about some sliced (and aggressively seasoned) shitake mushrooms that are either fried or roasted in olive oil until they get an almost crispy crust? I think they would pair beautifully here and would certainly be in keeping with the fall flavors of the dish.

      As for the artisans, evviva! If you haven’t already done so, have a look at for some truly incredible artisanal Italian products. Barilla really turned me off when they entered into a collaboration with McDonald’s last year. This latest episode truly adds insult to injury.

      • frankieandgiuseppe October 3, 2013 at 4:28 am

        Fantastic, will give it a try as soon as I see the first pumpkins in the shops. And I’ll check out that website. Thanks a lot!

  7. Ciao Chow Linda October 3, 2013 at 8:34 pm Reply

    OMG – I’m throwing out my recipe and making yours. This is a fabulous combination of flavors and textures. I can’t wait to try this – it’s a real winning recipe. Good luck with the contest.

    • Majella Home Cooking October 4, 2013 at 5:07 pm Reply

      You’re too funny, Linda! I’ve had a draft of this recipe written for about three weeks and nearly trashed it when I saw your lovely dish!! I’ve been making this for years but the mascarpone trick I learned this summer took it to a new level. The simple genius of Italians in the kitchen never fails to amaze me. Good luck to you as well!

  8. Heidi Karagianis November 5, 2013 at 10:30 pm Reply

    I am definitely going to try this. Looks amazing!

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