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Cooking with Pete and Barb Marczyk: Penne pasta with squash and fried sage leaves

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Pete Marczyk and Barbara Macfarlane do not leave their work behind when they leave Marczyk Fine Foods and head for their great old Denver house with the big, new kitchen. They often bring some of their market's choicest ingredients home with them, and cook up a feast.

While the gluttony of the holidays has come and gone, giving us all an excuse to drop some added baggage on our butts, Barb insists that "anyone who thinks they're living on broth to make up for the holiday excesses, is fooling themselves." Instead, she says, it's high-time to haul out the pasta. This week's dish, made with penne, squash and fried sage leaves, comes from the recipe file of Dave Bekken, the produce manager of Marczyk's, and while it's hearty, it's not overly rich. "The fried sage leaf, although it seems like a pain in the fanny, really makes this dish," notes Barb.

Penne pasta with fried sage and squash

Serves 4

Ingredients

8 ounces whole-wheat penne 1 tablespoon olive oil 8 sage leaves 1 medium red onion, peeled and thinly sliced 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped 1 medium butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes 3/4 cup water 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

1. Cook penne as directed on package. 2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry sage leaves, turning once, until crisp on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a paper towel. 3. Add onion and garlic to skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft and golden, about 3 minutes. 4. Add squash, ¾ cup water, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until squash softens, 5 to 7 minutes. 5. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup cooking water. Return pasta to pot and add squash mixture; stir over low heat, adding some reserved cooking water if necessary, until pasta is coated, about 1 minute. 6. Garnish with cheese and sage leaves. For more from Pete, Barbara and Marczyk Fine Foods, visit the market website. And be sure to check out Pete's blog.

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