Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Grub It Up: Roasted Butternut Squash and Bacon Pasta

So, no big surprise, I've been pretty staunch in my resistance to the Green Family's enthusiasm for green smoothies. Mom has decided to take a different approach and occasionally adds to vegetables one of my most favorite things in the world: bacon (turkey bacon to be more exact). She recently made this roasted butternut squash and bacon pasta from Cooking Light, but adapted it slightly to make it more kid-friendly -- she used familiar shell pasta and a more mild cheese (we'll chow whole bricks of goat cheese and blue cheese, but for some reason balk at sharp provolone). I would say vegetables + bacon = much more successful than vegetables - bacon. Plus mom served it with super yummy bread we bought from Union Market.

Here's the deal (slightly adapted from the Cooking Light recipe):

- 3/4 tsp salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups (1-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1/2 a large squash)
- cooking spray
- 6 turkey bacon slides (raw) {the Cooking Light recipe calls for sweet hickory-smoked bacon, but we rarely eat regular bacon and like turkey just as much, so mom used that}
- 1 cup thinly sliced shallots
- 8 ounces uncooked mini shell pasta {the Cooking Light recipe calls for mini penne, but our fave mac and cheese uses shell pasta so mom thought we'd be more agreeable to that}
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
- 3/4 cup (3 ounces) mozzarella cheese {the Cooking Light recipe uses sharp provolone}
- 1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

- 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 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 tsp of drippings in a pan (not really applicable if you use turkey bacon); crumble bacon. Increase heat to medium-high. Add shallots to pan; saute 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 mozzarella (or 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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