Pasta with Butternut Squash and Parmesan Cheese Sauce

I'm going to sneak one more meal in here before the Thanksgiving holiday.  This meal is perfect for vegetarians and since it involves butternut squash, you could easily serve it on Thanksgiving for those relatives who are.

I went to the farmers market a couple of weeks ago with a strict shopping list.  Butternut squash was not on that list but when I saw it I just couldn't resist.  I'm such a sucker for food.  So when I saw this over at simplyrecipes.com, I read through the recipe and was convinced it sounded like a keeper. Plus I could kill two birds with one stone, get over my guilt of buying the squash with no real plan to use it and I could add it to my ever growing collection of meals using butternut squash.

I was way excited.  But when I explained to Mr. Foodie what we were having for dinner, his vision was not as great mine. Lucky for me, the kitchen is my domain and he is forced to trust my lead (insert evil laugh, muwahahaha!!!). And just as our fate tends to happen, he and I were both pleasantly surprised, although I of course already knew we would be. If you are a fan of butternut squash, this dish is for you.

In case you aren't though, let me reel you in. This dish was extremely simple.  I loved that I just had to roast the squash and not peel it, which can sometimes be a chore in of itself. Envision the sauce as a replacement for the common tomato sauce with your pasta.  You can leave the squash somewhat chunky if you like (I had few chunks opting to smooth my squash out by almost pureeing it) or thin in out by adding more cream.  It is a rich sauce that has such a depth of flavor that it makes you feel all fuzzy inside.  As I was eating it I felt like fall, with the warm notes of nutmeg added and the pop of freshness from the parsley. And did I mention the Parmesan cheese added.  I mean, it's slightly cheesey. No not me...the dish. How could you not love that? YUMMY!!

Pasta w/ Butternut Squash and Parmesan Cheese Sauce
Printable Recipe
serve 4

1 butternut squash, about 2 pounds
8 oz. pasta (I used penne but you can use bowtie, rotini, etc.)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup minced shallots
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (I used regular cream because that's what I had and it worked fine)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 handful of chopped parsley
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the butternut squash in half, lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds and guts and discard them.  Fill a baking dish with 1/4 cup water and lay the squash in the baking dish, cut side down.  Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the squash could be easily pierced with a fork. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Scoop out the meat of the squash from the skins and place in a separate medium bowl.  Using a hand mixer, or a blender, puree the squash to your desired consistency.  Discard the skins.

Fill a pot with salted water and place over high heat.  Bring to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook until al dente, approximately 8-10 minutes, uncovered.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the shallots until translucent, approximately 5 minutes.  Add the butternut squash puree and cook for 1 minute, mixing it in with the shallots. Slowly add the cream into the mixture to avoid lumps.  Stir in the Parmesan cheese.  Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from the heat and add the parsley and lemon juice and stir to combine.  Cover the pan to keep warm until the pasta is done.

When the pasta is done, drain in a colander and plate.  Pour the sauce over the pasta and garnish with additional parsley or cheese.  Serve immediately and Enjoy.

adapted from simplyrecipes. com

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