Happy Fall! It’s official…we’ve moved on. Summer is over, leaves are changing, the air is crisp, everything is covered in pumpkin spice…I love it. Fall is my favorite time of year.
As the temperature starts to dip, it’s nice to have some cozy, comfy, family pleasing meals in your back pocket. This one is delicious, and my family loved ringing in the new season with a new fall favorite.
I started by cutting up a butternut squash into one-inch chunks and getting them ready to roast. I lined a cookie sheet with foil, sprayed it with nonstick spray, laid out the squash, gave them a quick spray, and sprinkled them with a mixture of dried rosemary, salt, and pepper.
As the squash was roasting in the oven, I crisped up some bacon on the stove top, crumbled it up, and then sizzled a few sliced shallots in just a bit of the bacon grease for a minute until they were soft. Once the squash was done, I moved it to a bowl, and mixed in the crumbled bacon and shallots.
Doesn’t that just scream fall? The colors are beautiful, and thankfully, this squash mixture tops the pasta, so you get to see all of that color. It isn’t hidden away in the sauce.
I’d cooked up some mini penne pasta, and had that waiting, so I got to work on my quick, light, cream sauce. I whisked together some flour, salt, and 2% milk on the stove top over the heat, until it was thick and creamy. Then, I whisked in 3/4 cup of sharp provolone cheese.
Like regular provolone cheese, the sharp version melts down beautifully. It’s still smooth and creamy, but this cheese offers just a little more bite than regular provolone. Nothing off-putting or “blue cheesy”, it’s just a little bit sharper, and adds a nice tang to the cream sauce for the pasta.
Once the cheese was mixed in and melty smooth, I tossed my pasta with the sauce and poured the mixture into a greased 11×7 inch baking dish.
Then, I topped the pasta with that amazing roasted squash and bacon mixture.
I sprinkled some grated Parmesan cheese on top, and it went into the oven for ten short minutes.
When I pulled it out of the oven, the sauce was bubbly and thick, the squash and bacon were nice and toasty, and I had a house full of people telling me how good dinner smelled.
This dish is delicious! It’s nice and creamy, but not over the top. The squash, bacon, and shallots combine beautifully and give the dish so much depth and flavor. It was the perfect comfy, cozy way to welcome my favorite season with my family. I hope your family enjoys it too!
ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND BACON PASTA
Adapted from Cooking Light
- 3/4 tsp. salt, divided
- 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 3 cups (1-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
- Cooking spray
- 6 center cut bacon slices
- 1 cup thinly sliced shallots
- 8 oz. uncooked mini penne (tube-shaped pasta)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
- 3/4 cup (3 oz.) shredded sharp provolone cheese
- 1/3 cup (1 1/2 oz.) grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 425*F. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray. Arrange the cubed squash on the cookie sheet, spray the squash with the nonstick spray as well. Combine the rosemary, 1/4 tsp. of the salt, and the pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle the squash with the rosemary mixture. Roast the squash for 40-50 minutes, flipping once, until squash is cooked through and toasty. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Change oven temp to 450*F.
- As the squash cooks, cook the penne according to the package in unsalted water. Drain and set aside.
- Also, crisp up the bacon in a pan over medium-high heat. Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels. Discard all but 1 1/2 teaspoons of the bacon grease from the pan. Return the pan to the heat and add the sliced shallots. Cook until shallots are softened, 2-3 minutes.
- Combine the squash, bacon and shallots in a bowl, and set aside.
- In a medium sized saucepan, combine the flour and 1/2 tsp. salt. Place the pan over medium heat, and gradually whisk in the milk until the mixture is smooth. Stir continuously over the heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Continue to stir one more minute, until the mixture is thick and creamy. Remove from the heat and whisk in the provolone cheese.
- Add the drained pasta to the cream sauce and toss to combine. Pour the pasta mixture into a greased 11×7 inch baking dish.
- Top the pasta with the squash and bacon mixture. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.
- Bake at 450*F for 10 minutes, or until sauce is bubbly and topping begins to brown.