I loved this perfect autumn pasta dish. The flavors are spot on. Sweet butternut squash, caramelized shallots, salty, smoky bacon, sharp provolone cheese, and aromatic rosemary combine to make a delicious and highly flavorful pasta dish.
There are a lot of steps to this recipe making it a little time consuming and it does dirty a lot of dishes, but trust me it is worth it! This is worthy of a special occasion or a dinner party. Yum!
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups (1-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
6 sweet hickory-smoked bacon slices (raw)
1 cup thinly sliced shallots
8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded sharp provolone cheese
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Fresh rosemary, chopped for garnish
Preheat oven to 425°.
Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Spread squash cubes on the foil-lined sheet. Sprinkle squash with 1/4 teaspoon salt, dried rosemary, and pepper. Bake at 425 for 45 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. Remove from oven and increase temperature to 450.
When squash has been roasting about 30 minutes, put a large pot of water (omitting salt or fat) to boil for the pasta while you cook the bacon and shallots.
Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until slightly crispy. Do not overcook. Remove bacon from pan and reserve 1 1/2 teaspoons drippings in pan. Crumble bacon into a medium bowl and set aside. Increase heat under pan to medium-high. Add the shallots to the reserved drippings and saute 8 minutes, or until tender. Add cooked shallots to the bowl with the crumbled bacon. Once squash is cooked, add it to the bacon and shallots, tossing gently to combine. You may also wish to add chopped fresh rosemary to the squash mixture for additional flavor. Set aside.
When the water for the pasta comes to a boil, add pasta, and cook according to package directions. Drain well.
Spray an 11x17 inch baking dish lightly with cooking spray. Set aside. Combine flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Gradually add milk, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil then cook 1 minute or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add provolone and stir until melted. Add the drained pasta to the cheese mixture, tossing well to combine.
Spoon pasta and cheese mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with squash mixture. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown. Top with additional fresh rosemary before serving.
Adapted from Cooking Light.