I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving eating all the good foods and spending time with their families! I enjoyed joining my family in the kitchen and cooking a meal that was meant for way more than one person 🙂 As I cannot get enough of comfort food and do not think it should be reserved for one day a year, I bring you squash and shells for the letter S!
This recipe plays off of your basic macaroni and cheese and elevates it with squash and of course bacon! The blended squash lends a creaminess to the cheese sauce and gives it a lovely pop of color. Butternut squash is also a great source of vitamin A and potassium so step aside boxed macaroni and cheese, there’s new dish in town!
- 1 cup medium pasta shells, uncooked
- 1 ½ cups cubed butternut squash (many grocery stores sell this pre-cubed that can be cooked directly in the package which helps save on prep time)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ¼ cup vegetable broth
- 6 tablespoons whole milk
- ½ cup and 2 tablespoons sharp cheddar cheese
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon spicy brown mustard (dijon mustard can be used as a substitute)
- 2 slices cooked bacon, diced (I store bacon in the freezer separated between layers of parchment paper to allow for the ease of adding a slice or two to a recipe)
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh parsley for garnish
Prepping the Dish
- Depending on the form that you purchased your butternut squash in, there will be two different routes of prep you can take:
- If you purchased pre-cubed squash that can be steamed directly in the package, cook the squash according to the directions on the package.
- If you purchased a whole butternut squash, peel, remove the seeds and cube the squash. You will then need to boil the squash until tender.
- While the squash is cooking, cook your pasta according to the instructions on the package.
- Drain the pasta and set aside in a bowl.
- Using the heated pot that the pasta was cooked in, melt the butter; turn the stove on low heat if additional heat is needed to melt the butter completely.
- Add the cooked squash, melted butter, dash of salt and pepper, vegetable broth, paprika, milk and mustard to your blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
- Put the noodles back into the pot and pour in the butternut squash sauce.
- Add the cheese and diced bacon and stir until the cheese has been fully encorporated and melted throughout.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Garnish with parsely and dig in!
Recipe heavily inspired from The Recipe Critic
It’s pumpkin season! Pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin coffee, all things pumpkin everywhere! While I do love all pumpkin sweets, I definitely cannot (scratch that I totally could, I SHOULD not) eat them every day and after a recent batch of pumpkin scones I was left with half a can of pumpkin puree and I had a decision to make. Bake another batch of scones or go savory. Since scones do not count as dinner, savory won!
Pumpkin is great as a savory option and you can easily transform your favorite everyday recipes into a Fall classic. Add it into your favorite veggie lasagna, fill up some raviolis and enjoy with a simple butter sage sauce, or take my route and create a basic pumpkin cream sauce. While this is not exactly low in calories as the base includes cream and butter (yuuuuum), adding the pumpkin is a great way to sneak a little vitamin A and C into your meal. Make sure you are using canned pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling…won’t make that mistake twice.
Keeping with Fall flavors, I added some kale and chicken sausage to complete this savory pumpkin dinner. Oh, and don’t forget to top with cheese! I found this amazing rosemary and olive oil asiago at Trader Joe’s that complemented the sauce wonderfully. Quick and easy dinner, my kinda meal. This recipe makes enough for two generous portions so invite someone over and show them the wonders of how pumpkin can be used not in sweets form! (Or, enjoy this meal for a second round the next day 🙂 )
Moral of today’s story, next time you have leftover canned pumpkin, challenge yourself and take the savory road. You won’t be disappointed!
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 white onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cups chopped kale
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup of canned pumpkin puree
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- pinch of nutmeg
- 2 sausages (I used chicken sausage from Trader Joe’s)
- 2 cups fusili pasta
- salt and pepper to taste
- Boil water for pasta.
- Cook sausage according to package instructions and remove from pan.
- Once water has boiled, add pasta and cook according to package instructions.
- While pasta is cooking, saute the garlic, onion and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat for five minutes.
- Add the kale and saute for an additional minute.
- Reduce heat to low and add the chicken broth, heavy cream, pumpkin and a pinch of nutmeg.
- Simmer sauce for ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Sauce will thicken, don’t worry!
- While sauce is simmering, cut sausage into 1/4 inch slices and drain pasta.
- Add sausage and pasta to sauce, stir to combine for one minute and remove from heat.
- Cover with lid and let sit untouched for three minutes.
- Top with cheese and enjoy!