This past month has been pretty busy trying to catch up on lost time fixing up our new place and Christmas prep. As my guy (frantically) studies for an exam he has this week, I’m feeling like the “house wife” in our home, making sure there are meals each day for us. We normally split household tasks including cooking and cleaning but it’s been harder for him to balance studying with home to-do’s so I’ve taken it on. That means trying to find yummy meals to cook in large batches so I won’t have to worry about cooking each night! This pasta dish was SUPER easy to make and also a good one to prep the day before and stick into the oven to warm through for dinner. It’s filling, comforting and a perfect pasta to cook as a main or use as a side (likely what I’ll be bringing to my parent’s this Christmas!) It’s also got a comfort-food feel with it’s baked cheesiness! Ingredients:
- 1 small butternut squash (roughly 2 cups (500 mL)) – no need to be precise with how much squash to use, use more or less per preference!
- 4-6 links of your favourite sausages – I chose a simple Italian sausage
- Small bunch of fresh basil leaves – approx 10-15 leaves, washed and ripped into small pieces
- 400 g bow tie pasta
- 3 tbsp (45 mL) butter
- 5 tbsp (75 mL) all purpose flour
- 3 cups (750 mL) milk – I used 1% milk. Add more milk if you find the sauce too thick for your liking.
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) Parmesan cheese, grated. Add more if you like it cheesy!
- 1/8 tsp (1/2 mL) ground nutmeg – omit if you don’t have any on hand, it adds an “oomph” and warmth factor
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) mozzarella cheese, grated
What to do:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Peal, cut into 2 cm cubes and cook the butternut squash in the microwave with 1-2 tbsp (15-30 mL) water for approx 10-15 minutes until soft – don’t forget to use a microwave-safe bowl. Mash in bowl and set aside.
- In the meantime, cook pasta per instructions on box until al-dente. Set aside.
- Remove sausages from casings and cook in a frying pan until golden brown, breaking up into smaller pieces. Once cooked, turn off heat and add basil to wilt. Set aside.
- In a sauce pan, melt butter on medium heat. Add flour to butter until it forms a smooth paste (i.e. a roux). Slowly add milk to flour-butter mixture to prevent possible lumps. Cook this mixture on low-medium heat constantly stirring until it thickens – approx 1-2 minutes (if sauce becomes too thick, add a bit more milk). Add mashed squash, sausage/basil, Parmesan cheese and nutmeg.
- Transfer the delicious mixture into a casserole dish. Sprinkle with mozzarrella cheese. Stick into the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden.