Shells with Italian Butternut Sauce

The flavors in this pasta sauce were inspired by the filling for Italian pumpkin tortellini: a mixture of naturally sweet pumpkin complemented by salty cheese and a spicy-sweet condiment (we’ve used chutney). Since farmers’ markets now have more interesting winter squash available, you might want to substitute one of the more unusual squashes for the butternut. Try kabocha or sugar pumpkin, or buttercup or carnival squash.

1 butternut squash (2 pounds), halved lengthwise and seeded
10 ounces medium shells, short fusilli, or radiatore pasta
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
3 tablespoons mango chutney, chopped
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the squash, cut-sides down, in a small baking pan. Add 1/2 cup water, cover, and bake for 45 minutes, or until the squash is tender. When cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh into a food processor.
2 Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.
3 In a small nonstick skillet, heat the oil over low heat. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes or until softened.
4 Transfer the garlic to the food processor along with the reserved pasta cooking water, sour cream, chutney, mustard, sage, salt, and pepper, and puree. Transfer to a large bowl, add the pasta and Parmesan, and toss to combine. Makes 4 servings

Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 447 calories, 9g total fat (3.4g saturated), 13mg cholesterol, 8g dietary fiber, 81g carbohydrate, 15g protein, 273mg sodium.