This past weekend we visited our dear friends Page and Adrian for our annual trip to the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival. After spending a fun day in Rhinebeck we went and spent the night at their house in Connecticut. Page had bought tons of gorgeous vegetables as the farmer's market in anticipation of our visit. While the kids spent hours outside looking for salamanders (they claim to have found 18!) Page and Lauren and I spent time hanging out and cooking together...something we love. This pasta includes some of my favorite fall produce: delicata squash, leeks, and escarole. It was delicious!
When using leeks be sure to wash them really thoroughly. Thinly slice into rounds and submerge in a bowl of cold water. Agitate the leeks to loosen any sand. Lift out of the water into a colander and repeat with fresh water until there is no residue in the bowl.
We used conchiglie which is a snail shaped pasta for the dish but you can substitute rigatoni or penne. We doubled the recipe below since there were 12 of us in all.
CONCHIGLIE WITH DELICATA SQUASH, BACON, LEEKS AND ESCAROLE
3 small or 2 large delicata squash, cut into 1/2 inch thick rings, seeds removed
Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound bacon, cut into 1/2 inch wide strips
2 large leeks, thinly sliced and washed (see note above)
1/2 head of escarole, washed and thinly sliced
1/2 pound fresh ricotta
1 pound conchiglie
Preheat over to 400°. Put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta.
Toss delicata rings with olive oil and salt and pepper. Arrange on a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown on both sides (you will need to turn the rings halfway through cooking) and tender. When squash is cool enough to handle cut rings into bitesize pieces. (You can return the squash to the oven to keep it warm if you finish this step before the rest of the dish is ready.)
In the meanwhile saute the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Trasfer to a plate, reserving the fat. Cook leeks in bacon fat until very wilted and begining to carmelize. Add escarole and continue cooking until very soft. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.
Cook the pasta until al dente while sauteeing the greens. Drain it in a colander and return to the pot. Stir in ricotta until pasta is well coated. Add greens, squash, and bacon and stir. Serve immediately.