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Company-worthy comfort food: Creamy butternut-pancetta pappardelle

If you look up the definition of fall comfort food in the dictionary, you’ll find this pasta recipe. OK, not really — but you should.

When leeks, pancetta (bacon’s un-smoked Italian sister), butternut squash and a generous amount of cream combine, you get the ultimate as far as fall comfort food goes. The only thing that can possibly make all those things better is being tossed with thick-cut pappardelle noodles and topped with a liberal handful of Parmesan cheese.

Take note, this isn’t a healthy dinner by any means, but it sure as heck is a delicious one and impressive enough for a dinner party.

butternut pancetta and leek pappardelle
Image: Gina Matsoukas/SheKnows

Creamy butternut squash, pancetta and leek papardelle

Serves 4

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 20 minutes | Total time: 30 minutes


  • 1/4 pound pancetta, chopped
  • 1 large leek, cut in half lengthwise, chopped and rinsed thoroughly
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash
  • Pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 12 ounces pappardelle


  1. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the pancetta to the skillet, and cook until browned and crispy.
  3. Add the leeks and garlic to the skillet, stir, and cook down for about 3 to 5 minutes, until softened.
  4. Add the butternut squash, toss together with the leeks and pancetta, and then cover the skillet and let cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, until the squash is tender.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the pappardelle in a large pot of boiling water.
  6. Once the butternut squash is tender, reduce the heat to low, remove the cover, then add the heavy cream, pepper, nutmeg and cheese, and stir everything together.
  7. Drain the pasta once cooked, and add it to the skillet. Toss to coat the noodles in the cream sauce.
  8. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese.

More butternut squash recipes

Butternut squash croquettes
Cheesy butternut squash risotto
Butternut squash and roasted garlic bisque

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