Roasted Butternut Squash and Bacon Pasta
¾ tea salt, divided
½ tea dried rosemary
¼ tea fresh ground black pepper
3 cups (1inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
6 sweet hickory-smoked bacon slices (raw)
8 ounces uncooked mini penne
¼ cup all purpose flour
2 cups milk
¾ cup shredded sharp provolone cheese
1/3 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 425°.
Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, rosemary, and pepper. Place squash on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with salt mixture. Bake at 425° for 45 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. Increase oven temperature to 450°.
Cook the bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. (I actually gave the 'baking the bacon' method a try here and I think I am a convert. I lined the baking sheet with foil, placed my cooling racks on top and then lined the racks with the bacon. Set the oven at 400 and let cook for about 10 minutes. I flipped the bacon over at that point and cooked for another 5 minutes.) Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 1/2 teaspoons drippings in pan; crumble bacon. Increase heat to medium-high. Add shallots to pan; sauté 8 minutes or until tender. Combine squash mixture, bacon, and shallots; set aside.
Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain well.
Combine flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly with a whisk; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add provolone, stirring until cheese melts. Add pasta to cheese mixture, tossing well to combine. Spoon pasta mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray; top with squash mixture. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown. (see my instructions above for how I froze and will reheat. I will update once I have given one of these a go in the re-heating process to get you all a more definite time for this part).