Cheesy Pasta with Squash and Bacon

Infuse this popular kids' meal with the goodness of fall by swapping half of the cheese with pureed butternut squash. Once paired with bacon, see who comes running to the table first: adults or kids.

You’ll Need

  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 1 package of pasta (shells, rotini and penne work well)
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup squash puree
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • ½ tsp grated nutmeg
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • Optional: panko or breadcrumbs
  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock, or enough to cover squash by 1"

Prep and Cook

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with foil, place bacon on sheet and cook in the preheated oven for 8 minutes, or until crispy. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Crumble into small bits and set aside.
  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain pasta and place back into the pot.
  • While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat. When melted, add flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add milk and squash puree and cook until thickened. If the sauce is too thick add milk, ¼ cup at a time, until it reaches desired thickness.
  • Add cheese and nutmeg to the sauce and stir until cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour sauce over cooked pasta, add crumbled bacon, reserving a small amount. Mix well to combine, serve in bowls and garnish with remaining bacon. If desired, sprinkle breadcrumbs over pasta and bake in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes.
  • Peel squash and slice in half lengthwise. Using a large spoon, remove seeds and discard. Chop squash into 1” cubes and place in a medium saucepan. Add sage and cover with stock.
  • Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for 15–20 minutes or until squash is fork-tender.
  • Remove pot from stove and puree squash using an immersion blender.


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