Oh, hello, friends.
I had a mystery squash in my fridge from my CSA box. The newsletter said it was either an acorn squash or a butternut squash, and I was about 99% certain it was neither or those, and 100% sad, because those are my two favorite winter squashes. This story has both the sad and the happiest of endings, because it turned out to be a spaghetti squash (my least favorite of all the squashes), but the recipe turned out so much better than I expected.
So I ended up making this recipe with a spaghetti squash, which worked fine, but it could be done with any winter squash.
Winter Squash Pasta Bake (serves two)
- 1/2 medium-sized squash, peeled and cubed (you’ll want about a cup of cubed squash)
- 1 t olive oil
- 10 sage leaves
- 1/8-1/4 C milk (I used skim)
- 1 T butter
- 2-3 T Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/4 t nutmeg
- 4-6 oz dry pasta (I used udon noodles, which was fantastic, but you could use anything!)
- bread crumbs to top
Here’s my disclaimer–I totally made up this recipe as I went along, and I had to do a lot of adjusting. I did my best to estimate how much of what I used, but I can’t promise exact results. Make the sauce slowly, adding the milk last so that you can thin it out only as much as you need, and taste the spices as you add them.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Start off by peeling and cubing the winter squash. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil and sage leaves. Roast on the middle rack for 20-25 minutes until tender.
To make the pasta sauce, remove the sage leaves, roughly chop them, and set aside. Combine the squash, salt, Parmesan cheese, butter, and the milk (add the milk in small increments to achieve the right thickness) and blend until smooth. Sprinkle the nutmeg in to taste.
Meanwhile, bring the water to a boil and cook the pasta according to directions. Drain and toss with the pasta sauce. Place into an oven-safe baking dish, top with breadcrumbs, and broil for a few minutes until the breadcrumbs are browned. Sprinkle with the roasted sage leaves that you set aside.
You probably shouldn’t skip the breadcrumbs. It really adds something–I used seasoned crumbs, and it was delicious. You need that texture. I also had some leftover squash cubes that was all cooked up, so I tossed some of those in with my pasta later–I wasn’t sure if it would be too overwhelming to have double squash, but it was totally good.
This is basically the cousin of mac and cheese–you can taste the squash (and a hint of nutmeg) but it is creamy and smooth with a not-too-subtle hint of cheese.
Fritz’s first words were “Oh my God, Lauren–this is gonna be a hit!” I think he meant with him, since he ate two giant servings right away. Not a single mention of meat.
Actually, that’s not true. He said it would be great with ham. But he ate it happily without!
I’ll take what I can get.