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Friday, January 7, 2011

Butternut Squash & Ricotta Pasta

As the main cook and meal planner in our house, sometimes it gets a little overwhelming to have full responsibility of this portion of our life. Since most of our meals are homemade, it can mean a lot of planning and cooking. Don’t get me wrong – 99% of the time I LOVE it, but there are some days where I don’t want to pick the meal and I don’t want to make it. Ryan used to help out more, but having me stand over his shoulder telling him what he could do differently apparently wasn’t the best motivator (sorry, babe).

Lately, Ryan has decided to step back into the kitchen and has cranked out some wonderful meals, all while I stayed far, far away from the kitchen (well, as far away as you can in a townhouse). I had already picked out several dinners for this week, so Ryan weighed the options and decided upon this pasta dish from Urban Drivel. I loved his rationale too: it would make good leftovers for his lunch and the leftover ricotta we had was nearing its expiration date. Smart guy!

While I worked upstairs, I was treated to the great scents of the meal like crushed fresh rosemary, minced garlic and roasted butternut squash. Before I knew it, Ryan called out, “Ten minutes until dinner!”

And the meal? It was delicious! He also served a little arugula salad with vinaigrette on the side to add some green to the plate. I can’t wait to ask the question, “What’s for dinner?” again soon.

Pasta with Butternut Squash and Ricotta
Adapted from Weight Watchers via Urban Drivel
(serves 4)

1 ½ lbs. butternut squash, fresh, peeled and cubed
8 oz. uncooked whole-wheat pasta, penne or shells work well
1 ¼ cup skim milk
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tsp minced garlic
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp black pepper, freshly ground, or to taste
1 tbsp rosemary, fresh, chopped, divided
½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Preheat oven to 375°. Coat a baking sheet and a 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

Place squash on prepared baking sheet; roast until tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Place in a large bowl and mash.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. After squash has been roasting for about 10 minutes, cook pasta according to package directions; drain and return to pot.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together milk, flour, garlic, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking frequently; reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring often, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in mashed squash and 2 ½ teaspoons of rosemary. Add sauce to pasta; toss to mix and coat.

Transfer pasta mixture to prepared baking dish; dot with spoonfuls of ricotta and then sprinkle with Parmesan and walnuts. Bake until top is lightly browned in a few spots, about 15 to 20 minutes; remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining ½ teaspoon of rosemary.


  1. All this food cooked up AND the dishes were done by the time homemade dressing was put on the salad :) I enjoy cooking, but find difficulty in picking out recipes or knowing our food inventory well enough to come up with ideas on the spot. Thanks for always bringing great food into our house Crystal!

  2. I hear ya -- being the main meal-planner and cook is sometimes overwhelming! I have had a hard time deciding WHAT to cook sometimes! I guess I must dread the meal-planning the most. Once I have a plan, I'm happy to cook, I guess!

  3. Just added this to my growing list of bookmarked recipes to try in 2011. I've recently discovered how much I love butternut squash, and this looks AMAZING :)

  4. YUM. i love butternut squash and cheese :)


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