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Butternut Pasta Bake

Today's post is for a basic "mac n'cheese" with a twist. This version is for pasta cooked in one pan on the stove with a mild, creamy butternut squash sauce. The pasta cooks first, then the squash is added. A little nutty Gruyere, or Swiss cheese, flavors the pasta, along with some sharp Parmesan. Last, Parmesan is sprinkled on top of the pasta, and the pan goes in the oven to brown for just few minutes. What you get is a creamy, slightly sweet/salty pasta bake that's loaded with vitamins and not a lot of fat. The pasta is great served on its own or with sauteed chicken sausages.

Butternut Pasta Bake

Butternut Pasta Bake -- Serve 6

1-2 teaspoons of olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

8 ounces of gemelli or other twist pasta

3 cups of water

1 tablespoon of chicken "Better than Bullion"

1 teaspoon of dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon of dried sage

1/2 teaspoon of lemon pepper

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 12 ounce package of frozen winter squash (butternut) puree

1 cup of light sour cream

1 cup of shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese

1 1/2 cups of shredded Parmesan cheese, divided

Heat a large skillet or chef's pan that is broiler-safe over medium high heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion and saute it for about 5 minutes until it softens. Add the pasta, water, Better than Bullion, thyme, sage, lemon pepper, salt, and garlic powder and stir the mixture until the bullion dissolves. Partially cover the pot and bring the contents to a boil, then stir everything again and reduce the heat to a simmer. Let the pasta cook for 5-10 minutes until the pasta absorbs most, but not all, of the water (about 1/2-1 cup of water should remain). Add the squash puree and cover the pan, letting the squash thaw in the pasta and remaining water. Stir to combine everything and cook the mixture for a few minutes until the sauce thickens. While the pasta is cooking, heat the broiler. Stir the light sour cream into the pasta mixture, then add the the shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan. Top the mixture with the remaining Parmesan and put the pan in the oven. Let the pasta broil for just a few minutes until the cheese melts and starts to brown. Remove the pasta and let it cool a few minutes before serving it hot.

Butternut Pasta Bake

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