Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Rigatoni with Butternut Squash and Bacon

Here I go with my pasta again.

I just love pasta.  Can't help it.  And so, you get another pasta recipe.  The thing is, there are just too many good combinations that involve pasta that you just cannot help but try them all.  Plus, the title said bacon which really means "you would be silly not to try".

This dish was a nice surprise from the traditional pasta dish.  Not only was bacon included but the butternut squash, red pepper flakes, garlic and cheese helped deliver an unexpected taste for dinner.  Something to note: if you do not cook bacon very often, it cooks fast and you could potentially burn it while checking Instagram.  Oops.

1 1/4 lbs. peeled butternut squash, cut into large chunks (or pick up the already peeled, already cut butternut squash at Trader Joe's!  It made this part SO easy)
8 oz, thick bacon, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
2/3 c. half and half 
6 large, fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 lb. rigatoni pasta
1/2 c. coarsely grated Pecorino cheese

1. Coarsely shred the butternut squash while bringing a large pot of salted water to boil.
2. Cook the bacon on medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until it is crisp.  Drain but leave 2 tbsp. of bacon fat in the skillet.
3. In the skillet, add the garlic and crushed red pepper.  Cook 30 seconds, stirring frequently.  Add the butternut squash and 1/4 tsp/ salt.  Cook 10 minutes stirring and mashing frequently.
4. Stir in half and half and sage.  Cook 2 minutes and remove from heat.
5. While the squash is cooking, cook pasta.  Reserve 1/2 c. cooking water.  
6. Drain the pasta and return the pot.
7. Add bacon, squash mixture, Pecorino, reserved cooking water, and 1/2 tsp. salt. 
8. Toss until well coated.

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