There are two important things I must say…

Roasted Butternut Baked Penne I

…that stem from my viewing of the CMA’s.

Yes. I’m educated.

Most importantly, I would like to figure out how to transport Carrie Underwood’s legs onto my body. Like… yesterday. While we’re at it I’ll take her entire wardrobe too.

Roasted Butternut Baked Penne I

By the way, I know the above looks disgusting. Get over it for now. Seriously.

So… second, I’d like to say hello to my secret boyfriend Blake Shelton. He’s my boyfriend and he knows it. Seriously Blake… stoppppp denying it.

My only saving grace is that I’m equally in love with Miranda Lambert. Can they just adopt me? And that’s saying a lot coming from someone who has relentlessly tortured her husband for his fierce dedication to country music. What is wronnnng with me?! Ugh.

Roasted Butternut Baked Penne I

Maybe someone [with a strong bass voice, for sure] can just sing me to sleep in a sexy, low country twang? That would work too. [And no Mr. How Sweet, I’m not talking about any of that ‘old bosephus’ crap or whoever you try to tell me about every single day that makes my ears bleed. Stop.]

Roasted Butternut Baked Penne I

But. Want to talk about pasta?

I gotta come clean and tell you that this is totally a cheaters meal. After I made that butternut squash lasagna, so many of you suggested just making a pasta version, minus all the lasagna junk. Uh, why didn’t I think of that? I swear… I can never come up with anything creatively simple. This is easier to throw together and tastes equally as amazing. It’s pretty much the exact same thing, just mashed to high heavens and piled on top of penne in a pie plate.

Because someone needs to do dishes.

And someone is lazy.

Too lazy to turn on the dishwasher.

I wish I was joking.

Roasted Butternut Baked Penne I

And for those of you who like to get fah-reaky with bacon? At the last minute I crumbled some on top and all I have to say is OHMYGOSHITWASTHEBESTTHINGEVER. !!!!! Get this in your life, stat.

Roasted Butternut Baked Penne I


Roasted Butternut Baked Penne

Yield: seves about 4


1 pound butternut squash, peeled and chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small shallot, chopped
1 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
2/3 cup milk
1/2 pound whole wheat penne
1/4 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
sage leaves
crumbed bacon, if desired


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Peel and chop squash, then lay on a baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Roast for 20 minutes, flip once, then roast for 20 minutes more. Remove from oven and add squash to a bowl, then mash with a potato masher or fork.

Prepare water for pasta and cook according to directions.

While pasta is cooking, heat a medium saucepan over medium heat and add butter and shallots. Whisk continuously until the butter browns and small brown bits appear in the pan. Immediately whisk in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add milk, mascarpone and mashed squash, then mix until until combined. I chose to keep my “sauce” in a thicker state (see the second picture), but if you’d like it thinned out a bit more, add additional milk. At this point, taste and see if you’d like any additional salt or spices – this will most likely depend on how seasoned your squash was. I added another small pinch of salt.

Add pasta to an 8 or 9-inch baking dish. Pour sauce over top, then use a spoon to fold the sauce into the penne, coating it completely. Top with shredded cheeses and fresh sage leaves. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cheese is golden and bubbly. Garnish with crumbled bacon if desired.

Note: this is a very “thick” pasta, and it is not swimming in sauce. If you would prefer it to be “saucy,” I’d advise adding more milk to the sauce while cooking. It is great reheated, and adding 1-2 tablespoons of milk when reheating helps it come together nicely.

Roasted Butternut Baked Penne I

This tastes 80 cazillion times better than it looks. I swear.

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216 Responses to “Roasted Butternut Baked Penne.”

  1. #
    mary (sisters running the kitchen) — November 11, 2011 @ 8:02 am

    wow…this does look amazing…and doesn’t look hard at all to make. i love the mascarpone addition…will definitely have to try!


  2. #
    chelsey @ clean eating chelsey — November 11, 2011 @ 8:02 am

    oh my.


  3. #
    Courtney — November 11, 2011 @ 8:06 am

    sounds incredible and looks delicious!


  4. #
    Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga — November 11, 2011 @ 8:10 am

    It looks great….and my ears perked up when I heard cheater’s meal. I want every meal to be one of those!


  5. #
    Becki's Whole Life — November 11, 2011 @ 8:12 am

    This looks wonderful – that shot of the roasted butternut squash got me though. I love that “kind of sweet” flavor of squash with cheese and pasta. Oh my, this sounds and looks great!


  6. #
    Kate — November 11, 2011 @ 8:16 am

    Omg this looks delicious I love the simplicity yet its so gourmet… Im definitely trying this asap!


  7. #
    Dawn @ My Tasty Space — November 11, 2011 @ 8:22 am

    Om-g. This looks to die for – and it’s totally healthy because of the squash, RIGHT? :D

    SERiously, I’ve never bought marscapone cheese, but I may have to now. Dammit.

    This is on my new TO DO list.

    Right after the Carrie Underwood’s Legs thing.


  8. #
    Dawn @ My Tasty Space — November 11, 2011 @ 8:26 am

    P.S. Your photos are GORGEOUS! Can I come over to your house to take the photos of my food?


    • Jessica — November 11th, 2011 @ 8:59 am

      Thank you, thank you!


  9. #
    Emily — November 11, 2011 @ 8:40 am

    Sometimes I just have no words for how amazing your stuff looks. Only you could make me crave dinner for breakfast.


  10. #
    Lauren @ Healthy Food For Living — November 11, 2011 @ 8:42 am

    Done and done. I was going to make your lasagna, but I think I’ll make this baked penne first!


  11. #
    Kim in MD — November 11, 2011 @ 8:43 am

    Oh my gosh…wasn’t the CMA amazing this year? Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley were so funny! I agree with you about Carrie’s legs. They are so toned- she must do a ton of squats! Blake and Miranda are so cute- did you see his comment about his award? The shape of the award…ahem…had something to do with how he was going to be feeling the next morning! :-)

    Ok- this pasta looks so amazing, especially topped with the bacon! :-)


    • Jessica — November 11th, 2011 @ 8:59 am

      It was SO good! This was the first year I was glued to the TV for 3 hours. I laughed so much… just loved it.


  12. #
    Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries — November 11, 2011 @ 8:46 am

    I’m drooling right now… And I don’t think the bacon should be “if desired”, but “mandatory”. Anything with bacon added is better. ;)


    • Jessica — November 11th, 2011 @ 8:59 am

      I know… it’s just so good.


  13. #
    Blog is the New Black — November 11, 2011 @ 8:51 am

    One word: YUM.


  14. #
    Heather (Heather's Dish) — November 11, 2011 @ 8:54 am

    i didn’t actually watch much of the CMAs, but yes – i’ll take carrie’s legs any day. and brad paisley is kind of my favorite ever, i’d totally let him sing me to sleep at night. and the best part about that is nate would be 100% OK with that since he kind of has a man crush on him too.

    good thing he doesn’t read blog comments, i’d be in BIG trouble…


    • Jessica — November 11th, 2011 @ 8:58 am

      You can have Brad (not a fan) if I can have Blake!


  15. #
    Emmy (Wine and Butter) — November 11, 2011 @ 8:54 am

    I love mascarpone cheese so much – this looks amazing – I want my food processor back so so so badly!
    My favourite cheat meal (which is an embarassing degree more cheat than yours) is to bake a butternut squash (cut in half), throw some cherry tomatoes on half way through, LOTS of salt and pepper and balsamic and then just spread philidelphia all over it. So good and easy! I even buy organic just so I can skrimp on peeling it and eat the skin too! Some mascarpone spread onto would be like ‘sexy cheat’… which sounds a lot more right when it comes to food!


  16. #
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet — November 11, 2011 @ 8:57 am

    This is happening SO soon in my kitchen!


  17. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — November 11, 2011 @ 9:03 am

    Anything with butternut in the title and I’m there. Have a great weekend Jess!


  18. #
    Kelly — November 11, 2011 @ 9:05 am

    Looks perfect to me!! :)

    And yes…Blake Shelton is dreamy buuuuut he’s no Peyton Manning. ;)


  19. #
    Yammie @ Yammie's Noshery — November 11, 2011 @ 9:07 am

    If that tastes 80 cazillion times better than it looks, then it must be pretty much the most wonderfullest thing ever.


  20. #
    Bev Weidner — November 11, 2011 @ 9:08 am

    Speaking of Carrie Underwood, I’ll take her legs too. AND, I’m singing “Home Sweet Home” tonight at a Karaoke party. THAT IS NOT THE PUNCHLINE.

    That pasta makes me dizzy. The sexy kind.


  21. #
    Natalie Mason — November 11, 2011 @ 9:11 am

    I actually think it looks delish! Thanks for sharing and you might have to fight me over Carrie’s legs. I call first dibs. But the real question is seriously what does she do to get legs like That???


  22. #
    nancy k — November 11, 2011 @ 9:12 am

    This dish looks amazing…you had me at roasted butternut squash but the addition of all the other ingrediaents just sends it over the top…I say yes to the bacon.
    I have only come to be a country music fan over the last couple of years so I looked forward to the CMA’s this year. The show was great…Carrie Underwood is adorable. I love Blake but not a huge fan of Miranda.This is the second year she has worn strapless dress that she kept pulling up…and pulling up and pulling up. She seemed uncomfortable in fancy clothes.
    Anyway, thanks for the super dinner idea.


    • Jessica — November 11th, 2011 @ 9:16 am

      Hahaha Nancy, I said that same thing! Girlfriend needs a more comfortable, non-strapless dress.


  23. #
    Krystina (Organically Me) — November 11, 2011 @ 9:18 am

    If I make this and eat a pound of pasta, I’m blaming you.


  24. #
    Cookbook Queen — November 11, 2011 @ 9:20 am

    I didn’t watch the CMA’s, sadly. What was I thinking? Sigh.

    This pasta looks amazing. I love “throw together” stuff like this!!


  25. #
    Lisa W. — November 11, 2011 @ 9:20 am

    I promise I don’t usually say this, but
    SEE? TOLD YOU. :)


    • Jessica — November 11th, 2011 @ 9:50 am



  26. #
    Staci — November 11, 2011 @ 9:26 am

    Oh my goodness…..
    Printing off the recipe now. I’m going to the grocery store!


  27. #
    Lisa @ Life in Green — November 11, 2011 @ 9:30 am

    I love butternut squash pasta anything. Made this one and it was great: ….bacon is definitely a winner.

    And I’ve never been much of a country fan but this year I’ve starting listening a little and did catch most of the CMAs. Yes…need Carrie’s legs. And wow do I have a crush on that Luke Bryan guy. I love a country boy wearing a baseball cap.


    • Jessica — November 11th, 2011 @ 9:50 am

      I KNOW. I love him too. A lot. Don’t tell my husband because he has been a fan for ages and I’ve tried to deny it.


  28. #
    brandi — November 11, 2011 @ 9:31 am

    duh, bacon is always a good idea – especially with butternut! yum.

    PS: he’s not the hottest guy in the world, but look up Justin Townes Earl and listen to a few of his songs. Super low, sexy voice. his brooklyn song is awesome.


  29. #
    Chris @ TheKeenanCookBook — November 11, 2011 @ 9:32 am

    This looks too good! Love you added the bacon at the last minute, makes everything better :)


  30. #
    Lori — November 11, 2011 @ 9:34 am

    While you’re transporting Carrie Underwood’s legs onto your body, could you transport her hair and skin onto mine?

    I want to like squash. I really want to. I just can’t.


    • Jessica — November 11th, 2011 @ 9:48 am

      Her hair is amazing. My husband was pretty much mesmerized by her… he’s like… “look at her skin!”


  31. #
    Hilliary @ Happily Ever Healthy — November 11, 2011 @ 9:34 am

    I loved all of carrie underwoods outfits at the CMA’s! She looked great, and this pasta looks delicious!


  32. #
    Julie @SavvyEats — November 11, 2011 @ 9:34 am

    I always tell Dan that it is too bad he doesn’t like country music, because he misses singing and he is a bass…

    Also, am I the only one who has to stare at the word “bass” for 5 minutes before deciding that it is spelled correctly (rather than the makes-much-more-sense spelling “base”)?


    • Jessica — November 11th, 2011 @ 9:48 am

      I ALWAYS do that. Especially since anytime I see “bass” I think of a fish.


      • Julie @SavvyEats — November 11th, 2011 @ 9:50 am

        Yes! I do at least three “no, that’s how you spell the fish…” before I get it right…

  33. #
    Emily — November 11, 2011 @ 9:39 am

    This looks & sounds sublime. I am sold! :)


  34. #
    lindsay — November 11, 2011 @ 9:47 am

    yeah, this looks ridiculous. can’t wait to try it! and i would like to be adopted by blake and miranda too…i love him.


  35. #
    MaryannD — November 11, 2011 @ 9:57 am

    This recipe looks amazing…one question – is there something I could substitute for the mascarpone cheese (not a fan)?


    • Jessica — November 11th, 2011 @ 10:02 am

      I think that ricotta or cream cheese (maybe neufchatel??) would work! Is it he taste or consistency you don’t like? If you don’t like the taste, you can’t distinguish the taste at all. If it’s the consistency (then I assume cream cheese/ricotta may not work either), you could maybe add some actual shredded cheese (like mozz or parm?) into the milk squash mixture? Let me know what you try. :)


      • MaryannD — November 11th, 2011 @ 10:12 am

        Thank you! I’ll try the neufchatel. Actually, it’s the fat content of mascarpone I’m not a fan of! :-) Either way, I think I’ll love this dish!

  36. #
    Blond Duck — November 11, 2011 @ 9:57 am

    I loved Carrie’s pink dress when she was talking to Miss Piggy!


  37. #
    Amanda — November 11, 2011 @ 9:57 am

    Oh my goodness, I’m totally in the same Blake/Miranda boat. They’re so adorable, I juist want to hang out with them and let them sing to me all day. You’re also there in this dream, don’t worry, and we’re eating this pasta.


    • Jessica — November 11th, 2011 @ 9:59 am

      Seriously. I almost melted when she won and said to him “it’s gonna be a great night baby!” Ugh. I love them.


  38. #
    Andrea @ Vegvacious — November 11, 2011 @ 10:07 am

    There is definitely nothing sexier than a true cowboy!!!

    I love the look of this and an easy thrown together pasta is much more up my alley than a lasagna. Somehow lasagna guts always end up on every surface in my kitchen!

    Happy Friday!


  39. #
    Lori @ RecipeGirl — November 11, 2011 @ 10:13 am

    I die.


  40. #
    Jessica @ Stylish Stealthy and Healthy — November 11, 2011 @ 10:13 am

    I used to be a major country hater, but I have to say
    a. In regards to Mr. Blake, how can you NOT get behind anything that sexy? (that came out wrong.)
    b. Miranda Lambert is so bad ass. I want to get drunk and polish guns with her.
    c. Unrelated to country but totally related to your pasta dish, I’m going to dream all day about making that.
    d. I know people always say this, but it seriously freaks me out sometimes how strangely similar we are.


    • Jessica — November 11th, 2011 @ 10:20 am

      God I love you. Seriously!


  41. #
    Julianne — November 11, 2011 @ 10:18 am

    omg, I love Blake! He’s great on The Voice, you really get to see his personality. He’s got great music…maybe he’d let me cook this dinner for him sometime…? :)


  42. #
    Kacy — November 11, 2011 @ 10:18 am

    I have a bag of frozen b-nut squash I’ve been needing inspiration for. I think I’ve just found it
    I love country music but the CMAs always piss me off. Zach Brown Band is THE BEST ACT in country music right now but they give all the awards to the poppy BS singers like Taylor Swift. Chaps my behind. (I try to limit my comments to one dirty word.)


    • Jessica — November 11th, 2011 @ 10:20 am

      OMG I love them too… so, so much. Especially because last year on some show that I still have DVRed they sang with James Taylor. !!!!
      Also, I saw you tweet about butternut yesterday but you said you didn’t want to roast it… soooo I kept my mouth shut.


  43. #
    Nikki — November 11, 2011 @ 10:21 am

    1. looks amazing


  44. #
    Amanda — November 11, 2011 @ 10:21 am

    Carrie Underwood does have the best legs. She’s just generally stunning.

    This recipe looks pretty awesome too. You really are loving the sage recently, huh? :)


  45. #
    Molly@This Life Is Sparkling — November 11, 2011 @ 10:21 am

    I think it looks delicious so I bet it tastes great! I will definitely have to try it soon:)


  46. #
    Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) — November 11, 2011 @ 10:21 am

    I love your photographs! Can you write food photography tutorials? Or at least give a nice shot of how you set things up just for tips?? I would love it and don’t even try to say that you’re not qualified to give photography advice.

    This pasta dish looks wonderful–like also that its super easy to put together. Always a plus in my book!


    • Jessica — November 11th, 2011 @ 10:24 am

      Ha – you beat me too it but I am soooo not qualified. I am not joking when I say that I only use my dining room table, a bunch of place mats, and just throw stuff together. I don’t use a tripod, a light box, or anything!


  47. #
    katie @KatieDid — November 11, 2011 @ 10:22 am

    yes yes yes yes yes. Favorite combo of flavors. Thank you for adding bacon to everything, we’re on the same level about that.


  48. #
    Joelle (On A Pink Typewriter) — November 11, 2011 @ 10:25 am

    Ooooh, I love this. It looks so gooey and wonderful. And Carrie Underwood.. seriously. I can’t. Although isn’t she a vegetarian? Maybe that’s the ticket to those legs. I’m not so sure I could go that route personally, though, so more power to her.


  49. #
    Marjolein — November 11, 2011 @ 10:27 am

    OMG i need to try is.But I think I will add some feta cheese on top. I love squash with feta.


    • Jessica — November 11th, 2011 @ 10:33 am

      That sounds amazing.


  50. #
    Courtney @ Bake.Eat.Repeat. — November 11, 2011 @ 10:30 am

    Am I the only one who can’t stop blubbering during Miranda’s “House that built me?” Honestly, that song gets me every time! I’m so bummed we missed the CMAs this year. I’m not a huge country fan, but they do put on a darn entertaining awards show.

    Oh…and the pasta doesn’t look gross. It looks creamy and fall-y, and cheesy, and bacony. All good things.


    • Jessica — November 11th, 2011 @ 10:33 am

      Oh no… me too. I didn’t really love the song so much but I’m such a sappy nostalgic nutcase who wishes she was eternally 12 years old that it gets me every time.


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