Okay, so I figured out what we were having for Halloween dinner.
I have two sickie-poos at home so we're staying in and having comfort food: the baked pasta and salad, and later some popcorn, and, of course, candy.
For now though, the pasta is baking, and I have time to type up the recipe.
BAKED PASTA WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH, BACON, ONIONS, THREE CHEESES, AND PINE NUTS
Forgive me, the directions are a little "loose," but baked pastas are very forgiving (as long as you don't over bake them).
Tips: the halved and seeded squash (seasoned with a little salt and pepper) baked at 350º for 45 minutes. I let it cool then peeled it with my trusty Y-peeler. Pancetta can easily be substituted for the bacon. Or, remove bacon completely for an ovo-lacto vegetarian dish.
Preheat oven to 350º.
- 1 box Barilla Campanelle pasta (or other short pasta) cooked very al dente, about 2 minutes less than package directions indicate (cook while preparing sauce)
- 1 butternut squash, halved and roasted then peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
- 2 sprigs (6-8) fresh sage leaves
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 1 large onion,chopped
- dry rosé or white wine (last night's leftover wine is perfect for this)
- 6 slices of nitrite-free bacon (I like Beeler's), remove fat and dice
- 4 glugs of olive oil
- raw milk gruyere and parmigiano reggiano, grated (2 generous handfuls each)
- gorgonzola, crumbled (1 handful)
- lightly toasted pine nuts (they will toast further in the oven; 1 handful)
While pasta is cooking, beging sauce by heating olive oil over medium heat then adding garlic, shallot, onion, and sage leaves. Cook for about 5-10 minutes until onions start to become translucent. Add bacon, cook 10 minutes stiring often. Splash in wine (3-4 glugs). Allow sauce to simmer and reduce, then continue cooking on low for about 15 minutes until onions begin to brown. (If you want truly carmelized onions, let them cook for an hour on low THEN add in the bacon and proceed.)
Add in diced butternut squash and a little more wine plus some pasta cooking water if the sauce needs loosening. Season with a little bit of salt and pepper. (Remember lots of salty cheese is going into this).
Drain pasta. Remove sage leaves from sauce and toss with pasta. Toss with gorgonzola. Pour mixture into a greased 11 x 17 (or comparable) casserole dish. Top with gruyere lightly mixing it into the pasta, then top with parmigiano. Sprinkle pine nuts over all. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 10 minutes more until lightly browned. Serves 6.
[photo credit: Stefania Pomponi Butler]