baked butternut squash pasta

baked butternut squash pasta

Yields: 4 people

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 large or 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp chili flakes (optional)
salt + pepper to taste
1 cup vegetable broth
1-2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 cup grated parmesan
2 cups packed fresh spinach, chopped (optional)
1 cup shredded mozzarella or mozzarella ball torn into chunks (optional)
1 package penne or radiatori pasta

In a large oven proof skillet (cast iron) or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add squash and stir to coat in oil.  Let cook for 5 minutes, stirring to avoid sticking or burning. Stir in garlic and season with salt, pepper, cumin and, if using, chili flakes. Let cook until squash is just tender and starts to brown.

Place large pot of water on to boil and cook pasta until tender but still firm. Save 1 cup pasta water after draining. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Once squash is tender, add broth, bring to a simmer and cover.  Cook until squash is soft and easy to mash. Once done, remove from heat and place half the squash in a blender and puree for a smooth sauce, or mash with potato masher for a chunkier sauce.  Leave other half of butternut squash in chunks.  Season sauce to taste.

Add cooked pasta to your skillet or dutch oven, stir with butternut squash sauce to coat. Add in reserve pasta water, butternut squash chunks, spinach and 1/2 cup parmesan. Add in balsamic vinegar 1 tsp at a time and taste after addition, in can over power quickly so add to taste. Stir well to combine.

Place remaining parmesan and mozzarella on top, place in oven and cook until cheese is melting and starting to brown (about 15 minutes). 

Remove from oven, serve and enjoy! 

Feel free to get creative with this recipe - - it's a great canvas for you to add your creative touches too. Add panko crumbs, bacon, or crispy sage leaves. Next time you make it, toss the squash and garlic in oil and seasoning and roast in the oven, add remaining ingredients to a blender, puree and serve with spaghetti! The options are endless but the result is always a hearty, cozy fall meal perfect for the whole family! 

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