I made this amazing pasta dish that everyone goes nuts for in my house. Yep, even our dog, Charlie. Unfortunately, the pup can’t get any of this meal, but he seems to like pretending there’s a chance he’ll get a piece thrown to him while we eat. Nope!
I always top my pasta dish with cheese and bacon before baking it, and I’m pretty sure that’s what gets my husband hooked. But who am I kidding? That makes it all the more yummy for me too. Call me a cheese freak, but I love loading my pasta up with cheese. So much so, it seems more like I’m eating a block of cheese with some pasta mixed in!
2 cups of cauliflower, chopped into bite-size pieces
2 cups of dry whole wheat penne pasta
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/4 cup pureed acorn squash
1 cup grated Vermont Cheddar
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp paprika
Ground black pepper
4 slices of bacon
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 375*F. Chop the cauliflower and toss with olive oil. Place on roasting sheet and cook for 20-25 minutes. Meanwhile, start boiling water for the pasta. When the water is ready, add the pasta and cook according to the package directions.
Cook the bacon as desired, leaving it a bit soft – it will crisp up more in the oven.
While the pasta and bacon are cooking, heat the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter is sizzling, add the garlic and the shallot and cook for three minutes. Be careful not to burn the garlic – it will make the dish taste bad.
Add the chicken stock and acorn squash to the saucepan. Cook until the sauce is creamy, not clumpy. Add the Vermont Cheddar, and stir in until melted – raise the heat to medium high if necessary. Add with the nutmeg and paprika to the sauce, and season with salt and pepper as desired.
Combine the cooked pasta, cauliflower, and sauce in a casserole dish. Crumble bacon and mix it into the dish. Top the pasta with the grated Parmesan.
Bake for 12-15 minutes in the oven. Let cool for five minutes before serving.
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Quick Tip: Pureed acorn squash can be bought at a store. Or you can puree your own after roasting it!
Recipe and image courtesy of: This Runner’s Recipes