Baked Butternut Ziti with Sage and Bacon
One of the blogs I bookmark or pin a recipe from at least once a week is How Sweet It Is. Seriously drool-worthy. I don't love winter squash, but they're readily available now and we had some that needed to be used. I had made a mental note of this recipe last week. Of all the winter squash I don't love, I don't love butternut the most. But hiding it in pasta sounded like a good idea to me; I'm a big fan of vegetables in disguise. And it really was a good idea. This savory dish will definitely make a repeat appearance on our table.
I am bemoaning the total lack of natural light at the hour we're eating dinner these days. See you in the Spring, sun...
I made substitutions to use what I had on hand; the original recipe calls for marscapone cheese and shallots, which I'm sure would be divine as well.
Baked Butternut Ziti with Sage and Bacon (adapted from How Sweet It Is)
1 pound butternut squash, cooked and mashed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 T. unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 T. flour
1/4 c. ricotta cheese
1 tsp. sugar
1 oz. cream cheese
1 c. milk
12 oz. penne or ziti
2 T. cooked, crumbled bacon (optional)
1/4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. dried sage
fresh sage leaves
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare water for past and cook according to package; drain.
- While pasta is cooking, heat a saucepan over medium head and add butter. Whisk until butter browns and small brown bits (the milk solids) appear in the pan. Add onion and cook until soft and translucent, stirring frequently. Whisk in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add milk, salt, pepper, nutmeg, sugar, cream cheese, and ricotta. Whisk until smooth and thick. Add the mashed squash and mix in well. The sauce will look sort of chunky and unappetizing, but it will taste very good. :) Stir in bacon, if using, and 1 tsp. dried sage.
- Add sauce to pasta and stir to coat. Transfer pasta to a baking dish and top with mozzarella and Parmesan. Arrange a few fresh sage leaves on top.
- Bake 15-20 minutes until cheese is brown and bubbly and sage is crispy. Yum!