Acorn Squash and Sage Rotini from Chef Michael Hunter and Barilla

This week’s featured Acorn Squash and Sage Rotini recipe comes from Chef Michael Hunter, owner and chef at Antler Kitchen and Bar, who recently released a new cookbook, The Hunter Chef Cookbook: Hunt, Fish, and Forage in Over 100 RecipesHe uses Barilla pasta in this recipe because it is non-GMO and features two simple ingredients – semolina flour (which comes from durum wheat) and water.

Acorn Squash and Sage Rotini Dish-min

Acorn Squash and Sage Rotini


– 1 cup Barilla Rotini
– 1 small acorn squash
– 1/2 cup butter
– 1/2 cup 35% cream
– 3 sprigs of sage, chopped
– 1/4 cup walnuts
– 1/4 cup dry white wine
– 2 cloves garlic
– 1 small shallot
– 1 small chunk of parmesan for grating
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 1 tbsp maple syrup
– Salt, pepper, chili flakes to taste


1. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Season with salt and black pepper and roast in the oven skin side up at 425F for 30-40 minutes or until soft.

2. Chop the garlic and shallot and sauté in a small pot in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for 2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt, pepper and chilli flakes.

3. Deglaze with the white wine and reduce for 1 minute to cook off the alcohol. Add the cream and bring to a simmer and turn off.

4. Scoop out one of the squash halves and add to the pot with the cream. Blend with a small stick (immersion) blender or transfer to a food processor and puree until smooth. Set aside and keep warm.

5. Scoop out the second squash half into a small bowl break up into bite size pieces keep warm and reserve.

6. Heat a frying pan on medium high and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the walnuts and toast for 2-3 minutes stirring every 15 seconds. Remove from the heat.

7. Add the maple syrup and toss to coat the nuts. Cool slightly before chopping and set aside.

8. Bring a large pot of water to boil seasoned with salt. Cook the Barilla pasta until al dente following the cooking directions on the box. Strain the pasta and transfer to a large frying pan.

9. Add the warm acorn squash puree and toss to coat. Grate some fresh parmesan into the pan and add a few pinches of chopped sage and toss to combine.

10. Divide the pasta into two large bowls. Shave more parmesan on top with a microplane or vegetable peeler, and the chopped maple walnuts and a pinch of sage. An optional garnish of fried sage leaves is a nice touch as well.