Saturday, September 12, 2009

Pasta with Smoked Bacon, Butternut Squash and Spinach

Dan found this recipe and made it for me, it's got all of my favorite ingredients. Give it a try, you won't be disappointed. Trust me!

My Favorite Things Pasta

1/2 lb smoked bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 tbsp unsalted butter
3 large (Vidalia) onions, sliced 1/4 inch thick
4 cups butternut squash, peeled & cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3/4 to 1 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped (use fresh, don't doubt me on this one!)
1 lb penne pasta (I prefer whole wheat, just a nuttier flavor)
1 big bag of baby spinach leaves
kosher salt
1 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
fresh ground pepper.

In a large heavy skillet or dutch oven with lid, over medium heat, saute bacon until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels, leave drippings in pan and add butter. Heat until butter is melted, add ionions and cook, stirring often until brown and caramelized, about 10-15 minutes, I like them a nice deep brown. (I usually add a couple tsp of sugar to the onions to help the carmelizing process). Add squash and stir and cook for about 5 minutes. Pour in chicken stock and sprinkle with chopped rosemary. Cover and cook until liquid is reduced, about 2-4 minutes. Be careful to NOT overcook the squash.
Bring a large pot of water to boil and add penne and 1 tbsp salt. Cook until al dente, or just tender. While the pasta is cooking, add the spinach by large handfuls to the onion and squash mixture. Stir and when wilted, add another handful. Continue until it's all added. Don't overcook! Toss in 2/3 of the bacon. Drain pasta and place in a large bowl. Add the vegetables along with 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. Toss to mix. Tast and season with salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with remaining bacon and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. Serve hot.

NOTE: This makes a HUGE amount. We typically will freeze half in a casserole dish. When you want to serve the second pan, remove from freezer, thaw in fridge. Drizzle with chicken broth, cover and bake in oven to reheat.

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