Thursday, January 24, 2013

Roasted Butternut Squash and Bacon Pasta

Sounds decadent, right?  Actually, it was a Cooking Light recipe!  There were fewer than 500 calories per serving but it definitely tasted decadent.  Be warned, though, this is not an easy weeknight meal.  It involves several steps and a lot of dirty pans to wash.  Still, it was worth it.  The whole family loved it.  The combination of sweet butternut squash with smoky bacon and the velvety provolone cheese sauce was outstanding!  I will definitely make this again.  I modified the recipe by mixing all of the ingredients together at the end rather than topping with the squash/bacon/shallot mixture.  I actually didn't have shallots, so I used a small yellow onion. 

Roasted Butternut Squash and Bacon Pasta
adapted 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
Cooking spray
6 sweet hickory-smoked bacon slices (raw)
1 cup thinly sliced shallots (I used an onion)
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 t. salt, rosemary and pepper.  Place squash on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with salt mixture. (I also drizzled with a little olive oil at this point) Bake at 425° for 45 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. (This was too long for me.  I flipped them after 15 minutes and then roasted them for another 10 minutes) 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. (I made a roux with a little of the bacon grease and only 3T. flour) 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. (I combined the squash mixture with the pasta and cheese sauce) Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown.

The roasted butternut squash was delicious as is.  I think it would make an excellent side dish for pork.

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