Monday, September 29, 2008

Butternut Squash Ramblings...

I love butternut squash.  Probably within the last 3 or 4 years I have "discovered" this gourd.  It is funny to me, even just the name.  Butternut - how can you go wrong there?!  Squash - Um, really?  That word seems better suited to describing the act of walking through a muddy field.  Either way, I have yet to mess up anything with this as a primary ingredient.  I love chopping it up, roasting it with bacon (mmmm....bacon....) and tossing it with cheese ravioli or tortellini, currants, toasted walnuts and a little parmesan cheese.  I love it roasted (with bacon...) and pureed into soup.  And now, a new favorite recipe, which will definitely be used again (and again, and again!).  I found it in Better Homes and Gardens October issue, and though it has the unfortunate name of "Butternut Squash Bake," which only conjures up images of tuna noodle casserole for me, I had most of the ingredients on hand and thought I'd give it a shot.  Yum yum yum.  Okay.  Hold on.  I need to preface it by saying that I tweaked the original recipe (their picture is much prettier) a bit... by roasting the squash with bacon.  I know, not called for, but it really helped propel this recipe into the "stellar" category!

Butternut Squash & Bacon Bake

1 1/2 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut in 1-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
5 slices of bacon, uncooked, chopped into 1-inch pieces
8 oz. dried extra-wide noodles
3 Tbsp. Butter, divided
6 shallots, chopped
1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
1 8-oz. carton mascarpone cheese (cream cheese can be substituted)
3/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded
1/2 Cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 Cup Panko (Japanese) breadcrumbs
Salt & Pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a bowl toss the squash, olive oil and bacon.  Place in a large baking pan or cookie sheet with sides.  Roast, uncovered, 30 minutes, until lightly browned and tender, stirring twice.  
2. Meanwhile, in Dutch oven cook noodles according to package directions.  Drain; set aside.  In same dutch oven melt 1 Tbsp. of the butter.  Add shallots; cook and stir over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes, until tender and butter just begins to brown.  Stir in Lemon Juice.
3.  Add noodles to shallot mixture.  Stir in mascarpone, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, 1/4 cup parsley, and 1/4 tsp each salt and black pepper.  Stir in cooked squash and bacon, being careful not to mash it.  Transfer to greased 2-quart baking dish. 
4.  Melt remaining 2 Tbsp butter.  Combine with breadcrumbs, remaining Parmesan and Parsley.  Layer over the top of the noodle and squash mixture.  Bake, uncovered, 10 minutes or until crumbs are golden brown.

1 comment:

Angie said...

We love butternut squash, too! Just squash in general! It will be Kate's first food. I think the recipe sounds WONDERFUL but Kurt needs convincing. Any ideas for my farm boy?

Enjoy Squash Season!