Rigatoni with roasted root vegetables and mascarpone

This fall I've really been wanting to try winter squash. I had the day off and was watching the Today Show. The cooking section featured Sara Gore. She prepared two dishes with winter squash and root vegetables -- a pasta dish and a meat dish. The pasta dish looked amazing! Fortunately I found the recipe on the internet and have pasted it below. 

Off I went to the grocery store. Butternut squash, parsnips, leeks, and mascarpone were all on the list and all things I've never purchased / cooked with before! Butternut squash and leeks were the two that I was most familiar and finding them was no problem. Mascarpone was another story; basically a wild goose chase! Finally a deli employee had to fetch it out of a back refrigerator for me. I was a little scared to try so many things at once but I'm glad I did. Needless to say this recipe was a fun adventure. Unfortunately the camera was at Patrick's house so no pictures :-(

Butternut squash, about 2 lbs., peeled and diced
3-4 good-size parsnips, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes
Olive oil for drizzling
5 slices applewood-smoked bacon or pancetta
1/2 small yellow onion, sliced thin
5 - 6 in. of leek, white part, sliced lengthwise, rinsed, sliced into half-moons
1 head of garlic, roasted
1/2 cup fresh ricotta
4 oz. mascarpone
1/4 cup Parmesan
1 lb. rigatoni
Chicken stock or pasta water for desired creaminess
Pumpkin seed oil or pepitas for garnish
     My notes in pink!
Step One:  Preheat oven to 400.
Prep vegetables: Dice all veg into same-size cubes, about 1 inch in size. Drizzle with good-quality olive oil to coat and season with salt and pepper. Spread in single layer on sheet trays without overcrowding. Roast for 45 minutes, tossing once or twice while roasting.
To roast garlic: With a serrated knife, cut top of garlic off horizontally, season with olive oil, salt and pepper and seal tight in foil. Roast in oven for 45 minutes (same time as vegetables so done at same time).

Step Two: (This doesn't need to be done immediately once you start roasting the vegetables. However I went ahead and prepped the leaks. They have lots of dirt in the leaves and need to be washed carefully!) In a large saute pan, add about a tablespoon of olive oil and diced bacon (or pancetta) and render down the fat. Add onion and leek and saute until thoroughly cooked and caramelized.
In a food processor blend ricotta, mascarpone, Parmesan and roasted garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. This is yummy!!
If using fresh pasta, cook 2-3 minutes or until desired tenderness. If using box pasta, cook per instructions on box. I did follow the instructions and use rigatoni but I think any small-medium sized pasta would've been fine.
Toss hot pasta into large saute pan with cooked onion mixture. Over medium-high heat add cheese mixture and toss to coat. Add chicken stock or pasta water to achieve desired consistency. Add roasted vegetables. Toss and plate on serving platter. Top with pepitas or pumpkin seed oil. Omitted this last part. Also forgot to add chicken stock or pasta water. It may could've used a little bit but was fine without it.

I thoroughly enjoyed this dish. Patrick, though respecting trying new flavors and varieties, would probably not want to try this again. Silly Patrick!


  1. Patrick, I'm pretty certain you're wrong on this one. Whitney, this sounds wonderful!

  2. Sounds really good. What is mascarpone? Glad you hung in there and found it! Mom