05 January 2010

The Richest Baked Pasta Dish You'll Ever Try

Do you have tons of winter squash around your house from this autumn's haul? I do, so I try to notice new and interesting winter squash recipes while I am browsing the internet.

A couple months ago, I bookmarked a recipe that I read about on Shelby's blog, The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch for Roasted Butternut Squash and Bacon Pasta. The picture on her blog tempted me, and I knew I would be throwing this recipe together ASAP for dinner.

When I finally got around to making the recipe, I wasn't disappointed. The butternut squash roasts into a creamy, caramelized treat. The rosemary is a fragrant addition that truly complements the sweet butternut squash. Similarly, the bacon is the perfect salty counterpart to all that sweetness.

I will be honest and admit that this dish came out a little rich for me. I ate one bowl of it, and then I was done. I couldn't eat any leftovers, and I gave most of the pasta to my parents. My mom loved this dish. Even though I couldn't eat more than one serving, I think this is still a worthwhile recipe. I think I might back off on the bacon - maybe cut it in half - and serve it as a side dish instead of a main course.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Bacon Pasta

from Cooking Light, March 2004

Mini penne pasta works well in this dish since it's about the same size as the squash. You can also use elbow macaroni, shell pasta, or orecchiette.

3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups (1-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
Cooking spray
6 sweet hickory-smoked bacon slices (raw)
1 cup thinly sliced shallots
8 ounces uncooked mini penne (tube-shaped pasta) (I used Barilla Plus mini penne and only used 5 oz of dry pasta)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded sharp provolone cheese
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425°.
Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, rosemary, and pepper. Place squash on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with salt mixture. Bake at 425° for 45 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. Increase oven temperature to 450°.
Cook the bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 1/2 teaspoons drippings in pan; crumble bacon. Increase heat to medium-high. Add shallots to pan; sauté 8 minutes or until tender. Combine squash mixture, bacon, and shallots; set aside.
Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain well.
Combine flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly with a whisk; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add provolone, stirring until cheese melts. Add pasta to cheese mixture, tossing well to combine. Spoon pasta mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray; top with squash mixture. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown.

Yield: 5 servings


Lynda said...

This looks delicious- I love butternut squash in just about anything!
Josie, I wanted to email you but don't see a link- I didn't receive your email about Family Recipes. I'm so sorry; would you prefer that I go ahead and post it, or wait for next month to post it with Shelbys post? That happened to me once too. Let me know.

Josie said...

Please don't feel bad about the family recipes thing! Laura told me about your spam box taking over (it happens to me too). Please do whatever is easiest for you :) Thanks for helping with the round up!