Penne with Roasted Butternut Squash, Bacon and Sage

It’s hard to believe that fall is just a few days away! Where did the summer go? I feel like I just pulled out my shorts and tank tops and now I am pulling out sweaters and jeans. Not only is the weather beginning to change, but my food cravings are as well. It is funny how food cravings change when the weather changes. One week we are grilling and enjoying cold drinks, then at the first nip in the air, we crave soups, casseroles, and chili. The seasons definitely influence my meal choices whether I realize it or not. Grilling is replaced with slow-cooking and roasting. This pasta dish is one of my favorite comforting seasonal dishes. It also meets my weeknight meal criteria-it’s quick, simple, delicious, and packed with easy to find ingredients. In under thirty minutes, tossing together these simple ingredients will take your pasta from ordinary to extraordinary. Bursting with the flavors of fall, like butternut squash, bacon and sage, this pasta has such a robust flavor making it the perfect autumn meal.

Penne with Roasted Butternut Squash, Bacon and Sage

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ½-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and Pepper
8 oz thick sliced bacon, diced
8 oz dry whole wheat penne pasta
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh sage

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Toss squash in oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast until tender and beginning to caramelize, about 15 minutes. Stir halfway through roasting time.
While the squash is roasting, cook bacon in a saute pan over medium heat until crisp, about 15 minutes. Transfer bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate; discard drippings. Add garlic to pan and cook for 1 minute.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta reserving 1 cup pasta water; set aside.
Add roasted squash, pasta and bacon to the garlic, tossing to combine. Add reserved
pasta water ¼ cup at a time, until it loosely coats the pasta. Cook over low heat until heated through. Remove from heat and toss with Parmesan and sage. Garnish each serving with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Source:Cuisine at Home, October 2010

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