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¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced (4 cloves if using locally grown)
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 small butternut squash, approx. 2 lbs, peeled, seeded and cut into ½ cubes
1 tbsp finely chopped thyme or sage
Salt and freshly ground pepper
16 oz. short pasta or shells
¾ cup freshly grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic, onion and crushed red pepper and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the squash and thyme or sage, season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the squash is tender about 5 minutes. Don’t overcook as you want the squash to hold it’s shape, so cook it until al-dente.
Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al-dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water. Add the pasta to the squash mixture in the skillet, and stir in ½ cup of the pasta water and toss gently to combine. Add the ¾ cup of grated cheese, season with salt and pepper to taste and stir gently to combine. Add a bit more pasta water if necessary. Serve the pasta immediately, passing more cheese at the table.