Tagliatelle with butternut squash

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Serves 4

This is Anna's recipe from her new book, Amaretto, Apple cake and Artichokes (Vintage £12). Pumpkins and squashes are so versatile, although as Anna points out, some can be rather watery. I find butternut the most consistent in flavour, texture and colour.

300-400g fresh tagliatelle (or about 250g dried)
120g shallots, peeled and finely chopped
60g unsalted butter
Pinch of sea salt
800g butternut squash or pumpkin, peeled and seeded
Good pinch of grated nutmeg
2tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
200ml double cream
4tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra Parmesan for serving

Put the butter and shallot into a heavy pan and heat very slowly until the butter has melted. Sprinkle with a little salt. This will make the shallot release its moisture and thus cook without browning. Cover the mixture with a piece of buttered paper and put a lid on top. Cook over a very low heat for about half an hour, stirring frequently, until the shallot is very soft.

Meanwhile peel the pumpkin/squash and cut into chunks and then into short matchsticks.

Add the squash to the shallot, sprinkle with nutmeg and cover the pan. Cook very gently for 40 minutes or so, until the squash has become a purée. Stir in the parsley, the cream, the cheese and the black pepper, check the salt and then draw off the heat.

Cook the pasta as usual in plenty of salted water, remembering that if it is home-made, it will take no longer than 2 minutes to cook.

Drain, reserving about a cupful of the pasta water. Transfer the pasta immediately to the pan with the sauce, add a couple of tablespoons or more of the reserved water and heat for 1 minute, lifting it out of the pan to stir so that the sauce does not become too thick. Serve at once with the rest of the Parmesan in a bowl.