This recipe is delicious year round, though particularly yummy in the fall. Of course, I obviously made it recently because, well, I had a craving for it! When squash is in season, you can use fresh, but if it’s not, frozen butternut squash works just as well. They sell it pre-chopped in bite size pieces, so it’s ready to go. Just be careful roasting it, if you overdo it, they tend to get mushy which doesn’t look pretty but it still tastes good.
This recipe is from Cooking Light, and can be made pretty easily. I just take the lazy ladies’ way out sometimes and bake the bacon if I’m not in the mood to scrub the stove later. It is mostly just tossing everything together once you roast the squash. Give it a try, it’s a nice twist on plain old mac and cheese!
Butternut Squash and Bacon Pasta (from Cooking Light)
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
6 sweet hickory-smoked bacon slices (raw)
1 cup thinly sliced shallots
8 ounces uncooked mini penne (tube-shaped 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.
Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan over the top, it is delightful!