Welcome to Monday! Whatcha making for dinner? Hadn’t gotten that far? Well, I have an idea!
I made this on Friday for some friends and it was delicious! You should make it too! It’s a creamy, comforting, cheesy carbfest that deliciously masks the fact that it’s made with a whole bunch of butternut squash and is entirely vegetarian. My husband likes to hate on butternut squash and even he liked it. It was so easy, I had most of the ingredients at my house and the rest I picked up at Trader Joes, but are available at all major supermarkets. I made a double batch which would get you through 3-4 nights of meals for 2 people if one of those people is a boy. Or a man. Excuse me. My friend, Marah made a tasty kale salad with grapefruit slices & avocado with a honey something-or-other vinaigrette to eat on the side. And that kale tasted really good mixed in the with pasta. I’m just saying.
So yeah it’s Monday. And you have a lot of to-do’s to get through before you can even think about what’s for dinner. But don’t panic, make this! And eat the leftovers all week. Or freeze them and eat them next week. You’ll thank me when you’re pulling fully cooked meals made from real food that aren’t labeled “Lean Cuisine” out of your freezer. And as an added bonus, if you need to, feel free to release some stress when you get to the “mashing” part of the recipe. Enjoy!
Cheesy Squash Pasta Yumminess
(or as Weight Watchers calls this recipe, Baked Pasta with Butternut Squash & Ricotta)
What you need:
20 oz uncooked butternut squash, fresh, peeled and cubed. Buy this pre-cut for God’s sake.
12 oz uncooked whole-wheat pasta, fusilli or penne
1 1/4 cup(s) fat-free skim milk
2 Tbsp white all-purpose flour
2 tsp minced garlic (or a spoonful of crushed garlic from the jar in my fridge)
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, fresh, chopped
1/2 cup(s) part-skim ricotta cheese (I used Fat Free Ricotta cuz that’s how I roll. No one died.)
1/3 cup(s) grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup(s) chopped walnuts, toasted
1/4 – 1/2 tsp each salt & pepper
In other words you need flour, milk, garlic, chopped walnuts, parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese, whole wheat pasta, butternut squash and some thyme. And salt & pepper.
How to make it:
1) PREP –Turn your oven to 375, get out a cookie sheet, a big pot, a medium saucepan and a 2.5-3 quart baking dish. See the one I used for my double batch in the pic below.
2) SQUASH — On a cookie sheet (or whatevs) roast that squash. About 30 min. When its soft, take it out and mash it. Yup. Mash it like a potato. Give it some elbow grease.
3) PASTA — Boil the water in the big pot, make the pasta, drain it, put it back in the big pot.
4) SAUCE — In a medium saucepan whisk together the milk, flour, garlic, salt & pepper. Bring to a boil then turn heat to low and simmer to thicken, stirring frequently. About 2 min. Remove from heat and add the thyme.
5) MIX — Mix the squash, pasta & your sauce together in the pasta pot. Coat your baking dish with cooking spray & pour the mixture in said baking dish.
6) TOPPINGS — Dot spoonfuls of ricotta on top of the pasta mixture. Sprinkle with walnuts & parmesan cheese.
7) BAKE — Put it in the oven for 15-20 min. or until golden brown to your liking.
8) EAT — Eat it. It is so good. 1 cup = 7 points