Roasted Butternut Squash and Bacon Pasta

This is a great recipe so I thought I would share. Even in the summer, with a hot kitchen and the several steps it takes to make, I think I would make this. It’s sweet thanks to the squash, gets a slightly nutty flavor from the cheese, and is nice and salty-smoky from the bacon. Deee-lish.

Scott and I love it, and Peter loves it too – we started him on this dish when he was still small and eating purees, and he even loved it then. A great dish all around.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Bacon Pasta
(from Cooking Light)

Ingredients:
3/4 tsp. salt, divided
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 c. (1-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
Cooking spray
6 sweet hickory-smoked bacon slices (raw)
1 c. thinly sliced shallots
12 oz. uncooked mini penne (or other small-shaped pasta)
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. 2% reduced-fat milk
1.5 c. grated fresh Parmesan cheese
*FYI – you’ll notice chicken in there too; if we want more protein I just toss in a few cups of cooked chicken.

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Combine 1/4 tsp. salt, rosemary, and pepper. Place squash on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with salt mixture. Bake at 425 F for 45 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. Increase oven temperature to 450 F.

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 tsp. 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 1 c. Parm, 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 remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake at 450 F for 10 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown.

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