Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Butternut Squash Pasta Casserole with Parmesan and Pecans

This casserole captures so many of my favorite fall flavors: sweet butternut squash and savory sage with nutty Parmesan cheese and toasty pecans.  Also, there's bacon.  Need I say more?

I've adapted this recipe from a cookbooks I use often when entertaining: Not Your Mother's Casseroles, by Faith Durand.  I love casseroles when I'm entertaining, and this collection of casseroles is elegant and modern.  I try to get them in the oven just before my guests arrive, and then I don't get stuck in the kitchen alone!  What are your tricks for entertaining?

Butternut Squash Pasta Casserole with Parmesan and Pecans
serves 6-8
adapted from Not Your Mother's Casseroles, by Faith Durand


Ingredients:
1 lb curly pasta (such as cavatappi, radiatore, or rigatoni)
4-6 slices bacon or turkey bacon
1 small onion, minced
10-12 sage leaves, coarsely chopped
1 two lb. butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes
1 1/2 cups evaporated skim milk or cream
1 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
1/2 ground nutmeg
1 cup grated Parmesan (or try Gruyere)
1 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 Fahrenheit.  Lightly grease a 9 x 13 baking dish.  (You can also use a wide, shallow enameled cast iron pan.)
2. Cook the pasta in salted water five minutes less than indicated on the package directions.
3. In a large pot, cook the bacon.  Set aside to cool, and crumble into small pieces.
3. Return the pot to the heat with a tablespoon of bacon fat (or a tablespoon or two of olive oil if you have used turkey bacon).  Add the onion and sage, and cook for five minutes, until the onion is translucent.
4. Add the chopped squash, and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.  Pour in the evaporated milk or cream, and bring to a simmer.  Lower the heat and cover the pot.  Cook for ten minutes, until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork.
5. Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Stir thoroughly.  Stir in the cheese and pasta, and combine.
6. Spread into the prepared baking dish.  Top with the nuts and reserved bacon, and a little additional cheese if desired.  Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling.  Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

9 comments:

  1. Thank you for your lovely comment on my blog, I'm so happy you did because it brought me here! I love butternut squash, but only make soup or roast it so this will definitely be on the must make list next week. We have the same Le Creuset orange dish too :D I always try to have dinner 20-30 minutes from being done when guests arrive so we don't have a long time between appetizers and dinner.

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  2. Wow - I love the flavors of this dish. I'm a huge fan of butternut squash and sage....and casseroles! Bacon makes everything better!

    A new follower here on Google Follower and I get to be #50! Yay!

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  3. Mmm... so many of my favorite things. Awesome casserole!

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  4. I love casseroles also especially ones with cheese and winter squash in them! I'd be eating this straight out of the casserole dish!

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  5. I love casseroles, and this sounds delicious and perfect for fall!

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  6. Mmm great flavor combo, this sounds delicious! Love butternut squash. :)

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  7. I have a very similar one I have thought of making lately from Cooking Light. Yours looks and sounds fantastic!

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  8. This looks great! I never know what to do with squash, I never thought of baking it in a casserole. I'll have to try this next time I get one. Thanks!

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