NEW YORK (WLNY) — You know it’s fall when it’s time for the New York City Wine & Food Festival — a chance to mingle with some of the best hefs in the city and help out some worth causes.

Celebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli from city hotspots Butter and The Darby visited The Couch to show us a seasonal pasta dish.

Penne with Butternut Squash Sauce and Squash Caponata

Makes:           6-8 servings
Prep Time :    1 hour 5 minutes
Cook Time:    2 hours 45 minutes

Squash Sauce
2          medium Butternut squash, split lengthwise and seeded
kosher salt
freshly ground white pepper
1          teaspoon ground ginger
4          ounces unsalted butter
3          tablespoons dark brown sugar
zest and juice from one orange
1          cup skim milk
1/2       cup heavy cream
1/2       cup water

Squash Caponata
2          medium Butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
1          tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4       cup extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
1          tablespoon oregano
3          tablespoons red wine vinegar
2          heaping tablespoons golden raisins
1          medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
2          cloves garlic, peeled and micro planed or grated
3          medium celery stalks, cut into thin rounds
2          teaspoons capers, drained

1    pound Penne pasta

Squash Sauce
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place the squash halves cavity side up on a baking sheet. Season them generously with salt, pepper, and dried ginger. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat until light brown. Remove from heat and evenly distribute butter and brown sugar into the cavities of the squash halves.

Fill the bottom of the baking sheet with 1 inch of water to create steam while squash bakes. Cover with aluminum foil and seal edges tightly.

Place baking sheet in center of oven and bake, undisturbed, for 2 hours. To check for doneness, pierce one of the halves with the tip of a small knife. If still firm, bake for an additional 30-45 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven. Carefully peel back foil and set aside to cool.

Using a large spoon, scoop flesh from the squash, leaving all skin but taking care to retain all of the cooking liquid. Gather squash and liquid in large pot. Place on burner over low heat. Add half of the orange zest and juice and stir to blend. Taste for seasoning, adding more if needed.

In a large pot, heat skim milk and heavy cream with 1/2 cup water. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.  Add squash and stir to blend. Once the mixture has returned to a simmer, taste for seasoning. Puree the squash in small batches in a blender or with a hand blender until smooth.

Squash Caponata
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit .

In a medium bowl, toss squash with sugar and half of the olive oil. Season with salt and stir in oregano. Arrange the squash in single layer on baking sheet and place in center of oven. Cook until squash is tender but holds its shape and somewhat firm, 15-20 minutes.

While squash cooks,  combine red wine vinegar and raisins in a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat skillet on medium and add some of remaining olive oil. Once oil begins to smoke slightly, add onions and garlic. Season with salt and cook until translucent, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to bowl and stir in celery and capers to blend. Refrigerate.

Remove cooked squash from oven and allow it to cool.

In a large pot, bring 6 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add generous amount of salt. Add pasta and stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Cook until “al dente,” or slightly chewy, 8-10 minutes. Drain pasta while finishing sauce. Reserve ½ cup of pasta water for later use, if needed.

Stir cooled squash into onion mixture. Add raisins and vinegar and taste for seasoning.

Toss pasta with the squash sauce and stir until fully coated. Stir in Caponata. Serve immediately.

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