I knew when I saw this recipe in my inbox that I would be making it. My former roommate apparently thought the same thing because she forwarded the same recipe to me moments later saying, “I know you like bacon”. Well folks, it’s true. And this dish highlights it beautifully.
This recipe features a new sauce-making technique for me — “dry-roasting” flour before it’s eventually combined with milk to make a “roux”. That’s right — no fat of any kind in the roux. It felt weird, but I was willing to give it a shot in the name of lighter cooking, and it turned out great! The sauce is super creamy, with a nice tang thanks to the provolone. The butternut squash and bacon make this dish a-mazing. It’s a great weeknight meal because it can be made wholly in advance, or a few things can be done in advance (like prepping and roasting the squash, cooking the bacon and shallots, and storing it all together, like I did)
Bacon and Butternut Squash Pasta
Recipe by Just the Tip / Inspired by Cooking Light
Here’s what I used:
- 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 2-lb butternut squash
- 6 slices of center-cut bacon
- 1 cup thinly sliced shallots
- 8 oz whole wheat pasta
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups fat-free half and half
- 3 oz shredded sharp provolone cheese (I used 3 slices of provolone slices, thinly sliced into matchsticks)
- 1/3 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
- freshly grated nutmeg
- salt, pepper
Here’s what I did:
- Preheat the oven to 425. Peel and cube the butternut squash into 1/2″ pieces and lay out on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with a little kosher salt, the rosemary, and a little black pepper. Roast for 45 minutes or until tender. Remove and increase oven to 450.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil.
- Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 1/2 teaspoons drippings in pan. Chop the bacon and reserve. Increase the heat to medium-high. Add shallots to pan and sauté 8 minutes or until tender, with a little sprinkle of salt. Combine the squash with the bacon, and shallots; set aside.
- Salt the pasta cooking water and cook pasta according to the package directions, about 10 minutes.
- In a large pot, combine flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt over medium-high heat. Toast the flour, stirring constantly, for about a minute or two. Slowly whisk in the half and half and bring to a boil, whisking continuously. Cook 1 minute or until slightly thick, continuing to whisk as needed.
- When the pasta is almost done, Remove from heat. Add provolone, stirring until cheese melts. Season with salt, pepper, and freshly grated nutmeg.
- Add pasta to cheese mixture, tossing well to combine.
- Spoon pasta mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray; top with squash mixture. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown. Try not to eat it all.