Long title, but necessary so you know how just what fabulous ingredients you're going to eat in this delicious pasta dish. My favorite thing is the way you get a mouthful of so many complimentary flavors, from sweet and salty to smoky and funky to fresh and nutty. The other fabulous thing is that you can eat this pasta hot, warm, or cold, as in a pasta salad. So, you have absolutely no pressure. Do as you like. I had it warm, as my lunch (and will for a day or two after), so it will feed two people as a main course and up to four with a side of bread of salad. Enjoy!
Notes: Butter is unsalted, olive oil is extra virgin.
ROASTED BUTTERNUT & BACON PASTA WITH TOASTED WALNUTS & BLUE CHEESE
Ingredients: 8-10 ounces penne pasta, 3 cups chopped butternut squash, 6-8 slices bacon, 4 tbsp. butter, 4 tbsp. olive oil, 3 tsp. minced garlic, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper, 1 cup chopped walnuts, 1/2 cup chopped kale, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese.
1. Prep and roast squash/bacon: Preheat oven to 350* F. Add the squash to a baking sheet lined with foil. Drizzle with 2 tbsp. of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the bacon to a foil lined baking sheet, or the same one (sharing the same sheet but with a separate piece of foil). Roast for 35-40 minutes, until squash is fork-tender, and bacon is cooked. Drain bacon and chop.
2. Cook pasta/make walnut sauce: While squash roasts, cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. Drain and set aside, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. To make the sauce, melt the butter with remaining 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When melted, add the chopped walnuts, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper, and garlic. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring, until fragrant and walnuts have browned a little. Set aside.
3. Bring it all together: Add the cooked pasta back into a large pot, if serving hot, or a large bowl if preparing to serve it warm/room temperature. Tip in the squash and bacon, followed by the walnut sauce, chopped kale, and Parmesan cheese. Stir to combine, adding reserved cooking liquid if necessary. Heat over low-medium until warmed-through. Taste for seasoning. Serve with crumbled blue cheese on top.
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