Monday, February 22, 2010

baked pasta with butternut squash and ricotta

This is the first thing I cooked at the goat farm, and it was kind of interesting, because they dont' have a lot of things I consider staples (such as... garlic! and also thyme, which I'm not sure we have at home either). Also, it's a Weight Watchers recipe and I think they often underseason things, so some modifications were in order.

2 spray(s) cooking spray
20 oz butternut squash, fresh, peeled and cubed [they suggest buying the precut and prepackaged squash, which I had done, and it was pretty darn convenient]
1/8 tsp table salt, for cooking pasta [I skipped]
12 oz uncooked whole-wheat pasta, penne
1 1/4 cup(s) fat-free skim milk
2 Tbsp white all-purpose flour
2 tsp minced garlic [I skipped]
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground, or to taste [I used more than this]
1 Tbsp thyme, fresh, chopped, divided [I substituted Herbs de Provence]
[I added some nutmeg and rosemary, too]
1/2 cup(s) part-skim ricotta cheese [I used more than this]
1/3 cup(s) grated Parmesan cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano recommended [I used shredded Romano]
1/4 cup(s) chopped walnuts, toasted [I skipped but I bet it would be good]

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Coat a 2 1/2- to 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

Place squash on prepared baking sheet; roast until tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. [you could also microwave it in a little water, says the recipe]. Place in a large bowl and mash.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. After squash has been roasting for about 10 minutes, cook pasta according to package directions; drain and return to pot.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together milk, flour, garlic, salt and pepper [I also added dried herbs to the roux]. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking frequently; reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring often, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in mashed squash and 2 1/2 teaspoons of thyme. Add sauce to pasta; toss to mix and coat.

Transfer pasta mixture to prepared baking dish; dot with spoonfuls of ricotta and then sprinkle with Parmesan and walnuts. Bake until top is lightly browned in a few spots, about 15 to 20 minutes; remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon of thyme. Yields about 1 cup per serving.

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