Trecce pasta with spicy ‘ndjua, burrata cream, fennel, and butternut squash is an absolutely delicious way to celebrate fall ingredients in a pasta dish. But, what is trecce pasta you ask? It is pasta that is made in the shape of braids. It is perfect for capturing all the delicious nooks and crannies of a sauce. This autumn-inspired recipe is a perfect match for trecce pasta since it has a tantalizing combination of butternut squash, fennel, burrata cheese, and mildly spicy ‘nduja. Yes, ‘nduja! ‘Nduja is a spicy spreadable pork salami that hails from the region of Calabria in Southern Italy. ‘Nduja is one of my personal favorite salami from Calabria. You’ll find it on pizza, stuffed in gnocchi, and as a spread on crusty Italian bread.
This is a spicy lovers kind of pasta! The ‘nduja adds a fiery autumn touch to this dish and it pairs exceptionally well with the burrata cheese sauce. As you swirl the pasta through it all you’ll begin to see why it is the perfect pasta for this recipe.
You will enjoy making this dish just as much as eating it. It’s a little different for fall and absolutely delicious. Now let’s get to cooking!
Trecce Pasta with Spicy ‘Nduja, Burrata, Butternut Squash & Autumn Fennel
(serves 2-3 portions)
- 4 ounces (112 grams) of trecce pasta
- 12 ounces of burrata cheese
- 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 cup hot pasta water
- 2 heaping tablespoons of ‘ndjua
- 200 grams of butternut squash, medium diced
- 150 grams of fennel, cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 3/4 cup of roughly chopped fennel fronds and a few whole for garnish
- olive oil for cooking
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cut the butternut squash and fennel.
- Cook them separately in a saute pan with a little olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Then remove them to a plate with absorbent paper.
- Boil a pot of water for the pasta.
- In a bowl add the burrata cheese and break it up. Then add the Parmesan cheese.
- Season with a little salt and pepper.
- Blend all with an immersion hand blender or traditional blender adding one cup of hot water a little at a time to create the burrata cream.
- The end result should be a smooth milky white cream that’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Tip: Do not make the burrata cream too liquidy. It needs to be thick enough to coat the pasta. Add the water a little at a time. Depending on the creaminess of the burrata you may not need to add all the water.
- Once the proper consistency is reached readjust the seasoning.
- Reserve half a cup of the burrata cream to use for plating purposes.
Cooking the Pasta | Finishing the Dish
- Now season the pasta water with salt and bring it to a rapid boil.
- Add the trecce and stir well so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Cook the pasta in the water for three minutes less than suggested on the package.
- Reserve a half cup of pasta water and then drain the pasta.
- Place the burrata cream, butternut squash, fennel, chopped fronds, and the ‘nduja in a saute pan.
- Over a medium flame toss the pasta with the rest of the ingredients.
- Toss several times to mix all and coat the pasta well. You can add a little of the reserved pasta water if the sauce becomes too thick.
Tip: Do not use a very high flame! High heat can scorch the burrata cream.
- Taste all for seasoning and then create the plate.
- Add a little of the burrata cream to each plate.
- Neatly add the pasta on top and garnish with the reserved whole fennel fronds.