Monday, October 17, 2011

Butternut Squash and Sausage Pasta Bake

Apparently my sister Kathryn is convinced it is still Summer time with her last post. So here is something that is unmistakeably perfect for a brisk Fall night. I tried butternut squash for the first time last year in my roasted vegetable risotto. After that we made this pasta dish which had really good flavor but it was a weight watchers recipe so I knew I could make it better. This time I made it with sausage, doubled the amount of squash and added some extra pasta. Definitely not a weight watchers recipe any more. Oops, haha so good and totally worth every bite :)
40 oz Butternut Squash - Already peeled & cubed
1 Onion - Diced
1 box Pasta - Any kind of tube shape
1 lb Sweet Italian Sausage - Taken out of casing
2 Cups Skim Milk
4 Tsp Flour
4 Tsp Garlic - Minced
4 Tbsp Margarine
1 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Pepper
2 Tsp Dried Thyme
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Cup Part Skim Ricotta Cheese
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese - Grated
Pam Spray
Begin by preheating your oven to 375 and prepping your veggies. Dice the onion and butternut squash if it has not been prepared for you. Spray the baking sheet with Pam and place the butternut squash and onion on the baking sheet, sprinkle with salt & pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, stopping in the middle at 15 minutes to flip the squash and shake the pan around. Start a large pot of salted water boiling on the stove for the pasta. Cook the pasta accourding to the directions on the box. 
In a medium pan over medium heat, brown the sausage that has been removed from the casing in olive oil. This should take about 8 minutes to cook, breaking it up more with your spatula, stir occasionaly. Set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together the milk, garlic, flour, margarine, salt & pepper. Bring to a boil whisking frequently, reduce heat to low and simmer whisking often until thickened about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. By now the squash should be done, while it is still warm mash it up with a fork.
When the pasta is finished drain and return it to the pot. Add the mashed butternut squash as well as the sausage and 1 Tsp of Thyme. Gently mix the pot to combine all of the ingredients. Add the sauce and mix again. Spray a 9x13 pyrex pan with Pam Spray and pour the entire mixture into the pan. Spread it out so there it is evenly distributed. Sprinkle the top of the mixture with the remaining the Parmeasan cheese and the remaining Tsp of Thyme. Take dallops of the Ricotta cheese and place them on top every couple of inches. Bake until the top is lightly brown about 20.
Enjoy!! - Nicole

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