I bought a butternut squash the other day, on impulse. I was planning to bake it and cube it up for the baby. But as I was getting ready to get baking, a dinner idea popped into my head. I'd never had it before, but the idea of trying the squash with pasta, sounded appealing. With the hubs out for a guys night, it was the perfect time to experiment.
Heading to Google, I found a lot of recipes for pasta filled or topped with butternut squash, but I wanted a butternut squash sauce. I happened upon a blog called Tart Reform, where I found just what I was looking for. The recipe on that site was for penne topped with a butternut squash cream sauce. I used Barilla Piccolini Rotini, which is a whole grain, kid sized pasta (Nolan friendly).
Looking at my finished product, you probably had the same thought I did. It looks an awful lot like Mac & Cheese. When I went back for a second helping (yes, it's that good), I initially felt disgusted with myself, because it looked like I was headed back for another heaping mound of Velveeta drenched noodles. I had to remind myself that I was actually eating something quasi healthy!
In my opinion, this dish was FANTASTIC and falls into the "How did I not know about this sooner?!" category. Seriously, it was THAT yummy!
Look past the Mac & Cheese-ish appearance (or don't, and try to fool your kids, they might actually be convinced). Give it a go. You shouldn't be disappointed!
*Pasta with Butternut Squash Cream Sauce (Adapted from Tart Reform)
* This recipe was made for two adults + baby (with some leftovers) - double for more servings
1/3 box Piccolini Rotini
1/2 Butternut Squash
1 T butter
1/2 onion, chopped
salt and pepper (Tart Reform says - DO NOT SKIMP - I agree!)
1/2 cup half and half (I used 1/4 cup heavy cream and 1/4 cup skim milk)
1/8 to 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Don't you love my "fancy" neon green baby food/prep bowl?
- Cut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds. Cut each half in half, quartering the squash. Add squash to a slow cooker. Add ~ 1 cup of water. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, until soft. -OR- Bake squash at 400 degreese for 45 minutes.
- Spoon the flesh of two pieces of squash into a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth. Refrigerate other pieces for another use.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. When draining, reserve 1/4 cup pasta cooking water.
- In another large pot or pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onion and season with salt and pepper (remember, do not skimp!). Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are tender and beginning to caramelize - 6-10 minutes.
- Stir in the pureed squash and half and half and bring to a boil. Mix in the pasta and the reserved pasta cooking water, a little at a time until desired consistency. Stir in the parmesan cheese.
- Serve and top the pasta with parsley.