British Columbia

Recipe: Butternut squash pasta with bacon and sage brown butter

Cookbook author and food writer Alana Chernila shares this delicious recipe that looks fancy but can easily be prepared almost entirely in the oven.

Cookbook author and food writer Alana Chernila shares this recipe that looks fancy, but is easy to prepare

Butternut squash pasta with bacon and sage brown butter is delicious, and easy to prepare in the oven, says Alana Chernila. (Alana Chernila/Twitter)

Before Alana Chernila starting writing cookbooks and running her popular blog Eating From the Ground Up she didn't know what she wanted to do.

"I went to a school which gave me a liberal arts degree, so I was trained for nothing, but ready for anything," said Chernila, who lives in The Berkshires, a rural region in Massachusetts.

Alana Chernila is a food writer and author of two cookbooks. (Alana Chernila/Twitter)

With two young daughters, Chernila took anything that came her way — teaching calculus, working in movies — but it was working at a farmers' market where she found her passion.

 "It came to me — I need to work in food!"- Alana Chernilla

"I would get so into talking to people about recipes," she told North by Northwest host Sheryl MacKay.

"I would say, 'So what are you going to do with this?' And they would say, 'Well what should I do?'"

"Then I would go home and I would try to figure out, what is the best way to cook celery root, I'm going to figure it out for them for next week. It came to me — I need to work in food!"

Now Chernila is the author of two cookbooks, The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making, and The Homemade Kitchen: Recipes for Cooking With Pleasure, which came out in October.

She shared a recipe from her latest cookbook with North by Northwest.

Butternut Squash Pasta with Bacon and Sage Brown Butter

Serves 4, with leftovers


  • 1 small butternut squash, (1 to 1½ pounds) seeded, peeled, and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 medium onion, cut into ½-inch wedges
  • 1½ tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the pasta water
  • 4 ounces sliced bacon
  • 1 pound store-bought bowtie pasta or 1¼ pounds homemade 
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 10 fresh sage leaves
  • ½ cup finely grated
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Freshly ground pepper


1 Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a large bowl, toss the squash and onion with the olive oil and salt. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast in the upper half of the oven until the squash is tender and the onions are golden, 30 to 35 minutes.

2 Meanwhile, lay the bacon on another baking sheet. Bake until crispy, about 18 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.

3 While the bacon and vegetables cook, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until tender, 7 to 10 minutes for dried, or 2 minutes for fresh. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, drain and rinse the pasta, and transfer it to a large serving bowl.

4 Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly, keeping a close eye on the color of the butter. When the foam subsides and the butter turns slightly brown, add the sage leaves. Remove from heat and as soon as the sage leaves start to curl, transfer them to the plate with the bacon.

5 Add the squash and onions to the pasta, then pour the butter over the bowl, tossing to coat the pasta and vegetables. Crumble the bacon over the pasta and top with the crispy sage leaves and the cheese. Pour enough pasta water over the cheese to create a light sauce.

Finish with a bit more salt and lots of freshly ground pepper.

To hear the full interview listen to the audio labelled: Food writer Alana Chernila shares recipe and describes how she discovered her passion


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?