Orecchiette with Squash, Prosciutto and Parmesan

At Da Tonino in Campobasso, the capital of Italy’sMolise region, the chef serves this sauce on homemade cavatelli. I loved the pungent celery leaves with the sweet autumn squash, and I have tried to duplicate the sauce as I remember it. Adapted from Fresh from the Farmers’ Market.

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 ounces prosciutto, minced
  • 1 pound peeled autumn squash such as butternut or Kabocha, in 1/3-inch dice
  • 1/2 pound plum (roma) tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pale-green celery leaves, from the inner ribs
  • 1 pound dried orecchiette, conchiglie or cavatelli pasta
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Melt the butter with the oil in a 12-inch skillet over moderate heat. Add the onion and saute until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the prosciutto and saute 2 minutes. Add the squash and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat with the seasonings. Add 1/2 cup water. Cover and simmer gently until the squash is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the celery leaves.

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain. Return to the pot and add the sauce and the cheese. Toss well, then divide among 4 bowls.

Serves 4