On Sunday evening while we were eating the delicious vegetarian chili, Wil commented (half seriously) on he loved eating in the pumpkin patch. What he was referring to is the ever-growing collection in the middle of our dining table:
Three pumpkins, 4 gourds, plus these two squash:
They were starting to dominate our table. I had nowhere else to store them, and for some reason just kept pushing off using them time and again. After Wil’s comment, I knew I had to do something to reduce to clutter so I roasted the squash on Sunday night. First, I cut them up.
Cleaned and cut them more.
And then baked them at 400º for 40 minutes. Once they were done, I peeled the skins and chopped them up and into the fridge they went.
Last night for dinner I wanted to make something with the squash, so I went with a cheesy pasta bake that was healthy too!
In addition to the cooked squash, I grabbed:
- 2 servings pasta
- RF Mozzarella
- Panko Crumbs
- 1/2 a shallot
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 serving ricotta
- veggie stock
- dried sage (but any herb will do!)
I took one of the containers of squash and chopped it up, and then blanched some kale that was on its last leg.
I cooked 2 servings of pasta al dente, and while that was going heated 1/2 a shallot and 2 cloves of garlic, minced. Once those got fragrant (1-2 minutes), I added in 1 serving of ricotta, a sprinkle of dried sage and some veggie stock to make a cheesy sauce.
I added the cooked pasta, kale, and squash directly into the sauce and mixed it all around.
And then transferred it into a baking dish.
I sprinkled on a layer of panko crumbs and then 1.5 servings of cheese.
And then into the oven it went! 20 minutes at 350, and then 10 minutes at 425 to get it browned on top.
It was soooooooooooo good. The entire dish was so flavorful from the sauce, and some of the pasta got a little crunchy from being baked. The whole thing was cheesy and gooey, and the best part? I got to eat HALF of that dish and still was eating well!
The other best part of this type of pasta bake is that its completely changeable based on what you have on hand. Make sure everything that goes into the dish is cooked, but if you want to use squash you can always just sautee or boil it so it goes quicker rather than roasting it. I used whole wheat pasta, but you could easily do this with white pasta or linguini or angel hair, or whatever you have on hand. The herb/herb combo is totally customizable too, and if you prefer a less cheesy pasta (there’s something wrong with you! :)) you could easily mix marinara sauce into the pasta/veggie and just top it with cheese. Or, you could completely leave the cheese off (shame) and just use panko.
What is your favorite casserole dish? Any special recipes you’d like to share?