Penne with Grilled Butternut Squash and Red Pepper

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Winter is for soups and stews. Spring is for salad. Summer is for anything with tomatoes in it. But fall, fall is for pasta.

Sure, you can eat pasta every time of year (and trust me, I do … when I’m not eating pizza). But especially right now—when the days are just starting to turn cooler, and farmers bring the last of their summer crops to market with the first of their crisp greens and root vegetables—is perfect for easy dishes that start with some kind of noodle.

Adapted from The Vegetarian Grill by Andrea Chesman

Ingredients
1 red bell pepper
1 medium butternut squash (about 1 pound)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
1 pound penne
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 cup crème fraiche
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and black pepper

Instructions
1) On the stove, start a large pot of salted water to boil. Preheat the grill. Add the bell pepper to the grill and char on all sides. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then rub off charred skin, remove stem and seeds, and slice into strips. Set aside.

2) Meanwhile, peel the squash, cut in half horizontally, remove the fibers and seeds, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Steam over boiling water until barely fork-tender, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl and toss with the olive oil, garlic, sage, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Grill on a lightly oiled vegetable grill rack until tender and grill-marked, about 8 minutes.

3) Cook the pasta al dente. Drain.

4) In a saucepan on the stove, bring the wine to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Add the crème fraiche, squash and red pepper. Stir in the pasta and Parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 4.

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