Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bacon and Butternut Squash Pasta

Every time I get a new issue of Food and Wine or Cooking Light, I go through page by page marking each recipe I want to try with a Post-It note. Most months I don't get to even half of the bookmarked recipes, but I definitely try. I'm working on incorporating more vegetarian dishes and those very light in meat into my diet, and this dish fits the bill. It also gives me the opportunity to use the green onions I've been growing in my apartment and to eat butternut squash, a vegetable I don't have often enough.

Many people seem to have an aversion to blue cheese, either because the taste and/or smell is too pronounced or they don't like the concept of visible mold streaked throughout (penicillium, in case you're interested). If this is the case, I would suggest feta or queso fresco as a substitute, although the blue cheese taste is very subtle in this dish and I don't think most people would know it had blue cheese unless you told them.

I was surprised at how such an odd combination of ingredients made an absolutely delicious dinner. This will most definitely be made again at my house. In addition being delicious, it's also quite inexpensive, a big bonus in my book.

Bacon and Butternut Squash Pasta
from Cooking Light, March 2010

yields 4 servings

3 1/4 t. salt, divided
8 oz. uncooked fettuccine
2 bacon slices
2 T. butter
3 c. (1/2-inch) cubed, peeled butternut squash
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c. (2 oz.) crumbled blue cheese
1/2 c. sliced green onions

1. Bring 3 quarts water and 1 T. salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Add pasta; cook for 8 minutes. Drain in a colander over a bowl, and reserve 1/3 c. cooking liquid.

2. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 2 t. drippings in pan. Crumble bacon; set aside. Add butter to drippings in pan; cook 30 seconds or until butter melts. Increase heat to medium-high. Add squash; saute 7 minutes or until almost tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in remaining 1/4 t. salt, pasta, reserved cooking liquid, and cheese; cook 2 minutes or until pasta is al dente, stirring frequently. Sprinkle with bacon and onions.

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