Roasted Butternut Baked Penne.

There are two important things I must say…

…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.

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.

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.]

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.

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.


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Roasted Butternut Baked Penne

Yield: seves about 4

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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.

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