Butternut Squash, Bacon and Kale Three-Cheese Pasta

Menu Part: 
Entree
Cuisine Type: 
Italian
Serves: 
25

Pennsylvania State University
State College, Pa.

This riff on macaroni and cheese features a different pasta shape and three types of cheese. Butternut squash and kale add a vegetable component, and bacon imparts a smoky flavor. For a vegetarian version, omit the bacon. Either way, this pasta bake makes for a comforting cold-weather dish.

Ingredients

30 oz. cooked ziti
6 3/4 oz. bacon, diced                                                 
10 3/4 oz. 1/4-in. diced onions
1 lb. + 6 oz. butternut squash, peeled, 1/2-in. diced              
3/4 oz. minced garlic
9 1/4 oz. chopped kale
56 oz. béchamel sauce 
9 oz. shredded Swiss cheese                              
3/4 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese                                                           
1 tsp. salt                                                     
1/4 tsp. black pepper                                          
1 oz. grated Romano cheese

Steps

  1. Pre-prep: Cook pasta slightly less than al dente.
  2. Saute bacon until fat is rendered and crispy. Add onions, squash and garlic and saute until onions are translucent.
  3. Add chopped kale and cook until it starts to wilt, using little water if needed. Remove mixture from heat and reserve.
  4. Combine pasta, bechamel sauce, bacon and kale mixture and mozzarella and Swiss cheeses.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and stir to evenly incorporate, taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  6. Transfer to greased hotel pan and sprinkle with Romano cheese.
  7. Cover and bake in preheated 375 F oven, until 165 F internal temperature. Remove foil before done, so top gets golden brown.
Source: Penn State University

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