Whip up this outstanding pasta and squash casserole for an easy family meal. 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
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
How to Make It
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.
I was so excited to make this based on all the terrific reviews, but I was a bit disappointed with the end result. I didn't find it hard to make and thought the recipe was written very well, if you follow it exactly it keeps your timing right on track. In the end, I really liked the squash & bacon but the pasta sauce was very bland. I made sure to buy the sharp provolone. I think with some tweaks this recipe can be 5 stars, but as written, it's just missing something. If I make it again, I will add a spice to the cheese sauce as other suggested, and def. use more squash and bacon (more bacon would be more fat though). It's worth trying though, just needs a little extra kick.
Fantastic - I made exactly as directed except I used extra sharp white cheddar cheese instead of the sharp provolone since I couldn't find it, and I only roasted the butternut squash for 20 minutes - that was perfect, any more would have been too much. This was DIVINE. Tasted absolutely decadent and creamy. Fabulous. Can't say enough good things, I cannot wait to eat this tomorrow. And, I am full off of quite a bit less than 1/5 of the dish.
It only took 20 minutes for the squash to be soft. 45 minutes would turn the squash to mush. I also think that 450 is pretty high to bake the pasta at. I cooked it at 400 instead. After reading the reviews about it being bland, I chose to use a fontina cheese instead. I added garlic. But it was still pretty bland. Some sage would make a nice addition. I used Fat Free milk without any problems. I also tossed everything together instead of topping with the squash mixture. It would be good to use a some bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese mixture as the topping.
I was skeptical of rave reviews, but this was a hit w/ whole family. Squash pasta recipes are sometimes too sweet, but the salty smoky counterpoints from the bacon were great. I used Nueskes bacon, b/c we love the smoky intensity. Also used some parm in the sauce.
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