I don’t know about you, but after the holidays at our house…it’s all about eating out of the fridge/pantry. We avoid the grocery store at all cost. It’s a great chance to work through ingredients and get ready for a fresh start in the New Year.
That is precisely how we happened onto this Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Bake. An open box of pasta, a butternut squash & fresh mushrooms waiting for their time to shine, a handful of fresh spinach and the end of two types of cheese….became a yummy meal that the whole family loved.
The beauty of this dish is you can substitute ingredients you have on hand. Cubed sweet potato, leftover cooked broccoli, sautéed onion….they would all be fabulous additions. Have fun and never underestimate the potential hidden in plain site in your fridge and pantry.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Prepare pasta according to package instructions. Drain and reserve.
- Peel and cubed butternut squash. Place in a microwave safe bowl covered with water. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Use fork to test for doneness. If necessary, microwave an additional 3-5 minutes until just fork tender. Drain and reserve.
- If topping with crumbled bacon, cook bacon until browned and crispy. Reserve. (omit for vegetarian version).
- Melt butter in the skillet and add sliced mushrooms and thyme. Cook over medium heat until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Turn over and cook an additional 3-4 minutes. Dust mushrooms with flour, stir until well coated. Whisk in milk and bring to a gentle boil. Remove from heat and add in cheeses, stirring until melted. Season to taste.
- Stir in fresh spinach, butternut squash, and pasta. Pour into a buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle with crumbled crispy bacon (optional). Bake for 20 minutes.
This recipe makes two generous servings but can be easily doubled or tripled to feed a larger crowd.
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