PENNE WITH ROASTED SQUASH AND BACON
This is a yummy summer pasta dish and especially sweet with local corn.
Omit bacon and add 2 tbsp additional olive oil for a vegetarian version.
Makes 6 to 8 servings
- 3 lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks (approx. 8 cups)
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 2 ears corn (or 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
- 4 oz bacon, cut into 1" pieces
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 6 oz ricotta cheese (preferably buffalo milk ricotta)
- big handful fresh baby spinach
- 3/4 lb whole wheat or regular penne pasta
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or butter
- Toss squash with olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme. Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast in a preheated 400F oven for 25 to 30 minutes until browned and tender.
- Grill corn, turning often directly on the barbecue or grill pan until spotted with brown on all sides about 3 minutes. Cool. Remove corn from cobs.
- Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven or large deep skillet, cook bacon until fat renders out. Discard all but 2 tbsp fat from pan. Add onions and garlic and cook gently 5 minutes until tender.
- Add squash, corn and half the sage. Combine well and heat.
- Cook penne in boiling salted water until tender. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Drain pasta. Add to squash in pan. Cook gently, on low heat, adding water gradually to keep mixture moist. Cook until most of liquid is absorbed or saucy. Stir in spinach and cook one minute until spinach wilts.
- Dot with cheese, drizzle with oil and remaining sage leaves.