Bacon and Butternut Pasta

My sister talked up this Cooking Light recipe to me, and I have to say, it’s quite good. I can be a little finicky about butternut squash (I think it can take over and make things too sweet) but it really gets balanced nicely here by all the other elements.

It’s a good make-ahead recipe – I made all the components the day before but left the sauce and cheese separate from the remaining ingredients. The next day, I tossed the pasta mixture with the sauce and added the cheese, and baked.

5 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
Cooking spray  
12 ounces uncooked ziti (short tube-shaped pasta), campanile, or other short pasta
 4 cups chopped kale (I used half kale, half arugula)
2 bacon slices
2 cups vertically sliced onion
1 teaspoon salt, divided
5 garlic cloves, minced
 2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth, divided
 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup crème fraîche
1/3 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese

Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine squash and oil in a large bowl; toss well. Arrange squash mixture in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until squash is tender.

Cook pasta 7 minutes or until almost al dente, omitting salt and fat. Add kale to pan during last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain pasta mixture.

Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble. Add onion to drippings in pan; cook 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally.

Bring 1 3/4 cups broth to a boil in a small saucepan. Combine remaining 1/4 cup broth and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to broth. Cook 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat; stir in crème fraîche.

Combine squash, pasta mixture, bacon, onion mixture, and sauce in a large bowl; toss gently. Place pasta mixture in a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray; sprinkle evenly with cheese. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until bubbly and slightly browned.

WW Points: 10 per serving (8 servings)

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Filed under pasta dishes, WW-friendly

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