Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Weeknight Recipe Wednesday: Roasted Butternut Squash and Bacon Pasta

I left work about an hour late tonight, but I still went to the gym just like I promised myself. That’s a win in my book. I have one more day of work before a nice, long 4-day weekend full of family time and celebrating sweet baby Jesus. Life is grand.

Roasted Butternut Squash with bacon is also grand. I have two confessions to make about this recipe:
1. It takes a little while to make since you have to roast the squash first and then bake the whole thing another 10 minutes or so. This isn’t a problem as it allows you time for other things. We put the squash in the oven and then went for a run. The timing was perfect.
2. This was one of those meals where it’s better the second time around. You know how spaghetti leftovers are always better than the day you made it? Maybe it’s just a pasta thing in general. Either way, I found this to be a little bland the first day, but the leftovers on day 2 had absorbed just enough of the salty bacon flavor to make it pretty delicious.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Bacon Pasta
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
Cooking spray
6 sweet hickory-smoked bacon slices (raw)
1 cup thinly sliced shallots
8 ounces uncooked whole wheat 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


1. Preheat oven to 425°.

2. 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°.

3. 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.

4. Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain well.

5. 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.

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