Ree Drummond’s Pancetta and Butternut Squash Pasta Is Ready ‘Pretty Darn Quick,’ According to the Pioneer Woman

It’s time for a PDQ dish from the Pioneer Woman. But first, what exactly does the celebrity chef mean when she describes a recipe as PDQ? Pretty darn quick. Similar to her Pasta Puttanesca, Ree Drummond’s Pancetta and Butternut Squash Pasta doesn’t take long to make. 

Ree Drummond’s Pancetta and Butternut Squash Pasta is a 40-minute dish

Ree Drummond smirks as she looks on wearing a printed top on 'Today'
Ree Drummond | Tyler Essary/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Drummond’s Pancetta and Butternut Squash Pasta isn’t one of her 16-minute Pioneer Woman meals but it is PDQ by the cookbook author’s standards. Per her recipe instructions on Food Network, the dish comes together in approximately 40 minutes. 

Drummond uses bucatini, but as she said on her Food Network show, The Pioneer Woman, any variety will do. “You can use any pasta you want. And that is really the case with any pasta dish I make,” she said.

“Just walk into your pantry or open your pantry door, look at the pasta possibilities. You could even put on a blindfold and just pick one,” she added with a laugh. “That’s how versatile this recipe is.”

Next, she sautees pancetta. Once it’s crispy she adds vegetables and continues to cook the mixture. Later when the pasta is cooked and drained, she adds some pasta water and white wine to the pan before tossing everything together. 

A relatively simple dish with layers of flavor, Drummond’s Pancetta and Butternut Squash Pasta is perfection in the Food Network star’s opinion. “To me, there’s nothing about this dish that isn’t perfect. I would make this for myself on a Monday night, a Tuesday afternoon, a Saturday morning,” she said. 

“You want to make me happy? Just make me this any day of the week,” she added. 

The Pioneer Woman makes it a PDQ recipe using ingredients that have already been prepped

So why is Drummond’s Pancetta and Butternut Squash Pasta considered a PDQ dish? Beyond the fact that it comes together in 40 minutes, the Super Easy cookbook author uses store-bought ingredients to make the cooking process easier. 

For instance, she uses pre-cut, diced butternut squash. “The reason this is a PDQ recipe is I’m using butternut squash that was already prepped. And I got this in the produce section of the supermarket, which is a revelation,” Drummond said. “Because if anyone has ever cooked with a butternut squash and prepped it from scratch you know how long it takes,” she added before noting “it can be a bit of a pain.”

Another store-bought ingredient Drummond reaches is bagged and washed kale. That way she doesn’t have to rinse and cut it herself. 

Tips from reviewers on making the Pioneer Woman pasta dish

Ree Drummond smiles as she poses in front a yellow sunflower 'Pioneer Woman Magazine' sign
Ree Drummond | Monica Schipper/Getty Images for The Pioneer Woman Magazine

Reviewers have spoken. At the time of writing, Drummond’s Pancetta and Butternut Squash Pasta recipe has been reviewed nearly 30 times on Food Network’s website. The dish averages 4.5 stars and those who have made it at home suggest others do a few things during the cooking process. 

First, they recommend cooking a smaller amount of pasta. Drummond’s recipe calls for a pound of bucatini but many reviewers claimed it was too much. Second, they advised going slow when pouring in the pasta water and wine. 

Don’t have wine? Some reviewers noted they used pasta water as a substitute with good results. Others didn’t have kale so they used spinach instead. 

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