Hey, hi! I have Monday food at its very best today!
Extra cheesy pasta with ingredients like butternut squash (my favorite fall fruit), sun-dried tomatoes and um, roasted garlic! Yum, yum!
Honestly, I am way too excited about this pasta. I’ve already made this twice in the last week, and well, I am still obsessed! It’s simple, easy and relatively quick. Whenever autumn squash is involved there’s going to be added oven time, so it’s not technically fast, but I promise it’s easy! AND did I mention it’s delicious, because it’s one of the best pastas I have ever made. Yes, ever!
Anyone with me?
Plus, I’m all about balance, so it’s not like I majorly over indulge on the weekends. Actually, my weekend eating habits are pretty similar to my everyday life, so Monday is kind of just another day for me – well food wise anyway!
Speaking of the weekend, how was yours? I spent some of mine visiting with my great-aunt and my first cousin once removed (I had to look that one up!). They were in town visiting my other cousin (once removed) who used to live with my parents when he first moved out here, but now lives in Denver. Their relation to me makes them sound much older. My cousins aren’t much older than me, and my great-aunt is like 8 years older than my mom. They loved Colorado, and it was nice to catch up.
I also FaceTimed with my brother, cousin Abby and cousin Matt… whose birthday was on Sunday. Matt and I are exactly a month apart, so it’s fun to celebrate together in some sort of way. They all live in California, so it was a day of drinks and beach time for them!
Speaking of birthdays, my brother Kai turns twenty-one on Thanksgiving day. His girlfriend Cait is trying to brainstorm what to do other than go to Vegas (she’s only nineteen, so that’s a no go). Do you guys have any suggestions? We’d both love to hear them!
Okok and since we’re on the topic of random life things, I’ve been meaning to chat with you guys about Facebook LIVE! I’m plotting my first FB Live post and wondering what you guys would like to see first. Recipe video? Q&A? Tour of all my props? My messy shooting area? The goats?! Tell me, tell me…please and thank you! 🙂
Alright, so on to this baked 4 cheese butternut squash rigatoni!
I’ve been working on this recipe for a couple of weeks now, and well… I think I’ve kind of perfected it. I mean, what could be bad about four cheeses, pasta and butternut squash? That’s got to be one of the best fall combos…plus it’s simple to make and perfect for feeding a crowd…or OK, maybe just yourself!
Here’s how this recipe breaks down. Start off by roasting your butternut squash and garlic. To make things really simple, we’re just going to roast our squash whole and then scoop out the flesh once the squash all soft. Trust me, this is so much easier than peeling, dicing and then roasting. While the squash is roasting, boil up some pasta. Then puree that roasted squash into a nice, yummy sauce. Pour the sauce all over your pasta and add your cheese!!! Then toss…add a little more cheese, throw on a few pepperoni (these are my secret ingredient, they make the dish so good, and add a nice spicy bite!). Then bake until the cheese is melty and gooey.
Pretty simple right? And I mean, come on, do you see all that cheese? It is SO so good, especially when paired with the slightly sweet butternut squash.
My four cheese combo is as follows…
So basically the Holy Grail of Italian cheese. YES.
Not going to lie, this is probably my ideal fall dinner right here, and you know what… I even got the picky eaters to dive right into this! It’s all that delicious the cheese and butternut squash, you just cannot turn away from that combo!
Again, my favorite!
Baked 4 Cheese Butternut Squash Rigatoni.
- 1/2 a medium butternut squash seeded
- 1 head garlic outer skins removed
- 2 tablespoons oil
- kosher salt + pepper
- 1 pound rigatoni
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach
- 1/2 cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes chopped
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 cup shredded fontina cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 8-10 pepperoni optional
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Place the butternut squash on a baking sheet. Chop the top 1/3 of the garlic off to reveal the cloves and place on the baking sheet with the squash. Drizzle the squash and garlic with olive oil and season with salt + pepper. Transfer to the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the squash is fork tender. Remove from the oven and let cool. Turn the oven to 450 degrees F.
Next, bring a large oven safe pot of water to a boil and boil the pasta until al dente. You want the pasta to still have a bite to it. Just before draining, reserve 2 cups of the pasta cooking water. Drain and add the pasta back to the pot.
Use a spoon to remove the seeds from the roasted squash. Discard the seeds. Now scoop the flesh from the squash and add it to a blender or food processor, discard the squash skin. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins and add to the blender. Now add the 1 1/2 cups of reserved pasta water, the milk, oregano and thyme. Season with salt + pepper. Pulse until completely smooth. Add the ricotta and pulse until just combined.
Pour the butternut squash sauce over the pasta and set the pot over medium heat. Add the spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and 1/4 cup oil from the sun-dried tomato jar. Toss to combine. Cook until the spinach is wilted and the sauce is hot, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the parmesan and fontina cheese. Spread the pasta in even layer, or if needed, transfer to a baking dish. Top with mozzarella and pepperoni. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and gooey. Eat!
Monday, you have nothing on that cheese pull. ?