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Sisterly love – fettuce with butternut squash, sage and smoked garlic

July 17, 2014

I could have told you about how good it felt to walk through the lush, green fields of Gloucestershire, wild flowers swaying in the breeze, a spring in my step, the deep blue sky making my heart sing.  Or how, once again Gifford’s Circus made my face ache with smiling. Or laughter in a country pub where a small dog’s life was nearly imperiled by a game of Jenga. Or being almost moved to tears by the cool beauty of a collection of statues at a famous country house in Derbyshire. So many good things to share from my two weeks in the UK this summer…and more to come…

But right now, all is well with the world because of dinner at my sister’s kitchen table. I could have angled the dish, got the light right, propped and garnished, made better pics and let it go cold. But instead, I picked up my fork and tucked into the smokey, sweet, savoury, food blanket of comfort.  This is a ‘sort of’ recipe, more a recommendation of a simple trio of flavours that work perfectly (quartet if you add the cheese).

We opened a bottle of 2013 La Mascaronne Quat’ Saisons Côtes de Provence rosé (from Raffles in Nailsworth) – light, dry, balanced, soft, perfect summer drinking. As well as the taste, the coral colour went beautifully with the butternut orange.

Our Polish heritage makes us very tolerant of garlic. My sister added both fresh and smoked cloves. The smoked ones are already part cooked and a bit sweet. You can substitute a whole head of ordinary garlic instead of the smoked. Just cut the top off the ends of the cloves, slick with olive oil and roast along with the squash. Squeeze out the garlic when you come to serve. The smoked does add a really beautiful depth of flavour though so I hope you try it.

Butternut squash smoked garlic pasta -

Fettuce with butternut squash, sage and smoked garlic

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-5 cloves garlic (optional)
  • 4-5 cloves smoked garlic
  • sea salt (smoked if possible)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • a generous handful of fresh sage
  • 250g fettuce (or dried pasta of choice)
  • Pecorino (or similar Italian hard cheese)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C. Peel the butternut squash, halve it and scoop out the seeds. Cut the squash into small, even chunks.
  2. Toss the squash in the olive oil and spread over the base of a roasting tin. Add the unpeeled whole cloves of fresh garlic if using.
  3. Put in the oven, turning the squash cubes gently once or twice during the cooking time. After 20 minutes, roughly chop the smoked garlic and add to the squash with some salt and pepper.
  4. After about 30 minutes, stir the sage leaves into the squash and return to the oven. Keep an eye on the sage as you don’t want it to burn, put some foil over the tray if you think this is happening. Cook for another 15 minutes (until the squash yields easily to the point of a knife or skewer).
  5. Boil a large pot of water, add some salt. 10 minutes before the squash is done (or time as per the pasta packet instructions) add your pasta and cook until al dente.
  6. Drain the pasta, stir in the squash mixture and serve with Pec0rino and black pepper.

Variation: For added crunch, toast the squash seeds for about 10 minutes and sprinkle on at the end.

Do you have special memories of a meal that your family shared?

  1. deliciouscityliving permalink
    July 17, 2014 8:34 pm

    Wow, this recipe looks delicious! I love butternut squash AND pasta so this is right up my alley! Also – beautiful photos 🙂

  2. July 17, 2014 8:38 pm

    A fabulous pasta dish! I am a garlic addict and I’m not afraid to eat quantities of it… 😉



    • July 20, 2014 10:28 am

      We’d be good dinner chums Rosa 🙂

  3. daver001 permalink
    July 17, 2014 8:50 pm

    Now I’m hungry!

  4. July 17, 2014 9:32 pm

    Ooh I adore Butternut Squash and can imagine with the smoked garlic & salt (both of which I’ve not come across before) this would be a sublime dish:-)

    • July 20, 2014 10:29 am

      I haven’t cooked with smoked garlic before. It’s sweet and a bit soft, like slow cooked but with a more delicate, deep flavour. Maldon do smoked salt – I love it.

  5. Fishfingers for tea permalink
    July 17, 2014 9:33 pm

    Some of my favourite ingredients here. I use smoked garlic on a fairly regular basis and absolutely love it!

    • July 20, 2014 10:30 am

      I’m a new convert …. I’m going to have to figure out a way of making it (although I have seen it in Dubai occasionally).

  6. July 17, 2014 10:36 pm

    Wonderful flavours – and definitely to be eaten straight away! Love the sound of the rose too.

    • July 20, 2014 10:31 am

      Lovely wine – I could drink this all summer.

  7. July 17, 2014 10:43 pm

    I am glad that you didn’t let our food bloggers’ idiosyncracies spoil the food made with so much love. Every meal cooked in my mom’s place is cooked with so much love and every meal is seeming to be special. Love:)

    • July 20, 2014 10:32 am

      Sounds like you are having a fabulous time

  8. July 17, 2014 11:04 pm

    What a delicious looking dish and I love the sentiment. Sometimes I get so caught up in photographing that I forget, this is a moment of fantastic (hot!) food, eat and enjoy. So pleased that you had a fantastic trip.

    • July 20, 2014 10:32 am

      Thanks – I’m enjoying every moment.

  9. July 17, 2014 11:31 pm

    Food cooked by family is the best! Love seeing photos of your summer on Instagram.

    • July 20, 2014 10:32 am

      I must get organised and put some here 🙂

  10. July 18, 2014 12:03 am

    Gorgeous Sally. Love hearing about your wee trip

  11. July 18, 2014 1:59 am

    Now this is my kind of food. So simple and with a great wine from a local Independant too. Nice.

    • July 20, 2014 10:33 am

      Glad to know there are still some around. The one in Stroud I found last year has closed but this one in Nailsworth is great.

  12. ramblingtart permalink
    July 18, 2014 3:26 am

    What a delicious meal to share with your sister. 🙂 Food is a bonding thing in my family too. 🙂

    • July 20, 2014 10:34 am

      Good simple food shared round a table (or picnic blanket) is always bonding isn’t it

  13. July 18, 2014 1:19 pm

    Lovely flavours 🙂

  14. July 18, 2014 3:31 pm

    This recipe is right up my street as i’m a huge fan of butternut squash and sage… served up with pasta and I’ll bet it’s just glorious… Lovely pictures too 🙂

  15. July 18, 2014 5:51 pm

    I must admit I haven’t tried butternut squash like this but adore it in ravioli. This looks like something pretty special to me, smoked garlic must add so much depth of flavour.

    • July 20, 2014 10:35 am

      I’m so rubbish at making ravioli – must have another go (although this is much simpler!)

  16. July 18, 2014 6:13 pm

    This is such a beautifully written post Sally – writing is definitely your metier. I make a squash and sage tart with plenty of garlic so I know how good a combination this is.

    • July 20, 2014 10:36 am

      What an exceptionally kind comment – spring in my step now. Your tart sounds divine.

    • July 28, 2014 1:57 am

      I agree with you; it is beautifully written!

  17. July 19, 2014 11:23 am

    With the exception of wine which makes me pull faces but which my sister adores, the two of us have very similar palates indeed — usually pick the same things off a restaurant menu too!

    • July 20, 2014 10:37 am

      That’s so interesting Kavey…. Wine makes me pull faces… of pleasure 🙂

  18. glamorous glutton permalink
    July 20, 2014 12:14 pm

    What lovely evocative writing Sally. A lovely dish, smoked garlic is a great find. Lovely aroma and depth of sweet savouriness. GG

    • July 20, 2014 4:51 pm

      Thanks GG – on a mission to use more smoked garlic now

  19. July 21, 2014 2:18 pm

    This sounds like the best way to enjoy family time! Love the pasta dish and this is something I would try at home. My favourite meal will always be roast chicken as it reminds me of my family, especially my grandmother 🙂

  20. July 21, 2014 11:44 pm

    I make something SO similar (on the blog from way back, complete with awful pics!) and add black beans, feta and chilli. Yours is a true healthy comfort meal, and so delicious.

  21. July 21, 2014 11:46 pm

    PS beautifully written too. Always. I’m glad you didn’t let it go cold 😉

  22. July 23, 2014 2:15 am

    What a lovely time you have had on your visit home, thanks for sharing your experiences so evocatively. As for the recipe – what a comforting dish and wonderful flavours.

  23. July 23, 2014 9:25 am

    Sally that looks amazing and simple to make. I love butternut, I must give this a go.

  24. July 25, 2014 1:57 am

    Once became an adult, I often wished I had a sister. To be cooked for would be a real treat for me and that too with wonderfully easy and perfectly balanced flavors like the generously moist and lightly sweet squash with gentle smoked garlic. I often think we anchor memories with smells and tastes of food…what a wonderful anchor right here. x

  25. July 25, 2014 6:55 pm

    There’s nothing quite like the English countryside! I miss it now I’ve moved into the city. This pasta looks amazing, I can’t wait to make my own bowl of it!

  26. July 28, 2014 1:56 am

    Delicious recipe! Thanks for sharing!

  27. July 29, 2014 7:03 pm

    Butternut squash is my favorite yet I have never thought to combine with pasta! Beautiful pictures. Will have to try.

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