Baked Asparagus and Mushroom Pasta

Baked Asparagus and Mushroom Pasta | cookiemonstercooking.com

Baked Asparagus and Mushroom Pasta | cookiemonstercooking.com

So asparagus and I are BFFs right now.  I can’t stop buying it – maybe a little excessively so.  When I was at the grocery store this week, the cashier actually stopped to ask me what I was planning to make with all of the asparagus I had piled in my cart.  I politely smiled and answered but really in my head it went something like, why are you questioning my asparagus???  And then two seconds later … hmm maybe it is a little much???  And then stop it, why on earth do you care that the cashier is asking about your excessive asparagus buying???

Because the butcher and I have regular weekly conversations about my cooking plans (and his too), so this is really nothing out of the ordinary.  Apparently I am just very defensive about my asparagus.  Hmpf.

Baked Asparagus and Mushroom Pasta | cookiemonstercooking.com

But it is just so good.  Such as when it is in a creamy cheesy pasta bake with plenty of mushrooms?  With a panko / parmesan topping that gets nice and crispy in the oven?  You betcha.

I’m in that weird phase right now where the weather is starting to get a little bit warmer so I am craving spring vegetables and the like … but I’m also not ready to give up on comfort foods.  Hence this pasta dish.  Combines everything in one.  Winner winner chicken dinner.  But no chicken.  Just veggies.

Baked Asparagus and Mushroom Pasta | cookiemonstercooking.com

I hope that all made sense.  It’s Friday and my concentration is long gone and I’m having trouble forming coherent sentences.

So tell me … weekend plans?  Anything fun lined up?  Whatcha got for me?

Baked Asparagus and Mushroom Pasta

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Baked Asparagus and Mushroom Pasta

Ingredients

    For the pasta:
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 (8 ounce) package baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bunch asparagus spears, ends removed and cut into 2 to 3-inch chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound your favorite pasta shape (I used shells)
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained well
  • 8 ounces provolone, shredded and divided
  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan
  • For the sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk (I used 2%)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • dash of pepper
  • dash of ground nutmeg
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Add the onion, mushrooms, asparagus and garlic to a 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss to combine. Bake for about 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until the veggies are tender. Remove from the oven and add the veggies to a large bowl. Set aside the baking dish for later. Maintain the oven temperature at 400.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta (you want it to be al dente) according to the package directions. Reserve ¼ cup of the cooking water, then drain and add the pasta to the large bowl with the veggies. Add in the diced tomatoes and set aside.
  4. To make the sauce - in a small saucepan set over medium heat, add the butter. Once melted add in the flour, whisking constantly. Continue to whisk for about 2 minutes, until golden brown and nutty in fragrance. Slowly pour in the milk, continuing to whisk constantly. Let the mixture come to a simmer, still whisking fairly frequently, and cook until it thickens up a bit, about 1 to 2 minutes after simmering. Remove from the heat and add in the salt, pepper, nutmeg and parmesan. Whisk until smooth.
  5. Pour the sauce into the large bowl and then add in half of the shredded provolone cheese. Mix until well combined, adding in a little of the reserved pasta water if needed to loosen the pasta up (I didn’t need any). Season with salt / pepper to taste. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish you used for the veggies. Top with the remaining provolone. In a small bowl, mix together the panko and parmesan and sprinkle over the top.
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the top is golden and bubbly.
http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/04/04/baked-asparagus-mushroom-pasta/

Source:
Cookie Monster Cooking

 

Soba Noodle and Pine Nut Salad

Soba Noodle and Pine Nut Salad | Cookie Monster Cooking

Soba Noodle and Pine Nut Salad | Cookie Monster Cooking

You know those restaurants where you just order the exact same thing over and over and over?  And you actually have no idea if the rest of the food is even any good because you stick to the same dish every single time you go?

So that’s me with this one particular restaurant down the street from our house.  While I usually branch out and try new things, I am completely stuck on this one salad from their menu.  I order it every. single. time.  No exceptions.

Soba Noodle and Pine Nut Salad | Cookie Monster Cooking

According to my husband the rest of the food is totally fine, although nothing to write home about, so I figured it was time to recreate something similar at home.  Save him from me forcing us to go to said restaurant just so I can get my salad.

So here it is.  And guess what?  I’m of course completely stuck on this version too.  We’ve had it a few too many times over the last couple of weeks.

Crispy greens topped with soba noodles and a whole pile of toppings – like feta, pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes and cucumbers.  And then there’s a delicious lemony vinaigrette to go along with it.

Soba Noodle and Pine Nut Salad | Cookie Monster Cooking

I am not one to turn down a delicious plate of piled high noodles.  Especially when I can call it a salad.

Soba Noodle and Pine Nut Salad

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Soba Noodle and Pine Nut Salad

Ingredients

    For the dressing:
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • For the salad:
  • about 8 ounces soba noodles
  • ½ to ¾ cup crumbled feta
  • ⅓ to ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained, patted dry and chopped
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • ¼ to ½ of a red onion, thinly sliced
  • ⅓ to ½ cup pine nuts
  • about 5 ounces mixed greens
  • sesame seeds, for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. To make the dressing - add the lemon juice, vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper to a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Add in the olive oil and whisk vigorously until smooth. Set aside.
  2. To make the salad - bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add in the soba noodles and cook until al dente (according to the package directions). Drain and then rinse well with cold water. Transfer the noodles to a medium bowl. Add in half of the dressing. Toss to combine.
  3. In another medium bowl, add the feta, sun-dried tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and pine nuts. Toss to combine.
  4. Add some of the mixed greens to each serving bowl. Top with some of the soba noodles and then some of the veggie mixture. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Drizzle with the reserved dressing as desired.

Notes

This would also be great with some sliced chicken, etc. to bulk it up even more.

Some of the amounts in the recipe are approximate since I feel like salads are like pizzas - everyone likes a different amount of toppings. I use the higher amounts but adjust to what you enjoy!

http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/01/08/soba-noodle-pine-nut-salad/

Source:
Cookie Monster Cooking

 

Mexican Lasagna Roll-Ups

Mexican Lasagna Roll-Ups | Cookie Monster Cooking

Mexican Lasagna Roll-Ups | Cookie Monster Cooking

That’s cheesy, comforting goodness in a pan right there.  And now that it’s fall and the weather is starting to get a little cooler, I’ve been craving comfort food more and more.  Although we have had weird spurts of heat – it was 90 degrees here this past weekend – not cool for October mother nature, not cool.  Although that’s beside the point, since we’re here to talk about lasagna and really I’ll eat a plate of it any time of the year.

Mexican Lasagna Roll-Ups | Cookie Monster Cooking

I’ve seen recipes for lasagna rolls-ups on so many blogs and quite frankly have fallen in love with them.  Can we talk about how easy it is to scoop them out of the pan?  I tend to make a gigantic mess with regular lasagna so these are perfect for me.  I’ve been playing around with different flavors, since they are so fun to customize.  We love mexican in our house and this version has been our favorite variation so far.

The filling is primarily ricotta cheese, packed full of mexican flavors – beans, corn, chipotle, green onions.  The list goes on.  And then a good helping of pepper jack and cilantro to finish things off.

Mexican Lasagna Roll-Ups | Cookie Monster Cooking

All you messy lasagna slicers out there, these roll-ups are the perfect solution.  And even if you are cool and can cut lasagna without spilling everywhere, I think you’ll like these too.

And can you come give me a lesson??  I’ll bring the lasagna.

Mexican Lasagna Roll-Ups

Yield: 12 rolls-ups (about 6 servings)

Mexican Lasagna Roll-Ups

Ingredients

  • 12 uncooked lasagna noodles (I use whole-wheat)
  • 1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika (or regular paprika)
  • dash of cayenne pepper, or more to taste
  • 2 cups freshly shredded pepper jack cheese, divided
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¾ cup fresh or frozen corn
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • ⅓ cup cilantro, chopped
  • hot sauce, for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions (you want them to be al dente). Drain and rinse with cold water. Lay the noodles out flat on a work surface.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, add the ricotta cheese, chipotle pepper, salt, cumin, chili powder, paprika, cayenne, and ½ cup of the pepper jack cheese. Mix until well combined. Add in the beans, corn and green onions and mix again until well combined.
  4. Spread about ⅓ of the can of crushed tomatoes in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish (tilt the pan back and forth to cover the bottom). Scoop about ⅓ cup of the ricotta mixture onto each of the lasagna noodles and spread it out along the length of the noodle. Roll the noodle up and then place it seam-side down in the prepared pan. Repeat with all of the noodles. *To see step-by-step photos of this process, you can check out this picture that I posted on Instagram).
  5. Pour the remaining crushed tomatoes evenly over the rolls. Top with the remaining 1 ½ cups pepper jack cheese. Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and then bake for about 10 more minutes, until the cheese is bubbly on top. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the cilantro. Let cool for about 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2013/10/08/mexican-lasagna-roll-ups/

Source:
Inspired by A Couple Cooks.

 

Spinach Pesto Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Walnuts

Spinach Pesto Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Walnuts | Cookie Monster Cooking

Spinach Pesto Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Walnuts | Cookie Monster Cooking

I have a tendency to buy way too much spinach each week at the grocery store.  We go through a lot of spinach in our house, but for some reason I always overestimate just how much we really need.  The extras usually go into smoothies or something like that, but a few weeks ago I needed to use a bunch … and quickly … before it went bad.

I usually just make regular basil pesto, but decided to experiment and make a spinach version.  Since that would use quite a bit of the aforementioned tons of extra spinach.  And from there, this quick and easy dinner idea was born.

Spinach Pesto Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Walnuts | Cookie Monster Cooking

This pasta is jam packed with plenty of good-for-you spinach, along with some crunch from the walnuts and a little saltiness from the sun-dried tomatoes.  There’s also just a hint of kick, from the red pepper flakes, and you can definitely dial it up and add some more depending on your taste.

I also added in a little greek yogurt to give it a hint of creaminess and was so happy with the result.  And if you’re like my husband and like meat with your dinner, add some sliced chicken or sausage.  It’s great that way as well.

Spinach Pesto Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Walnuts | Cookie Monster Cooking

Easy dinner idea to start your week off right?  Check and check.

Spinach Pesto Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Walnuts

Yield: about 4 servings

Spinach Pesto Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Walnuts

Ingredients

    For the pesto:
  • 4 cups packed baby spinach leaves
  • ½ cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • ½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • For the pasta:
  • 1 pound your favorite pasta
  • ¼ cup plain greek yogurt
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ⅓ to ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained, patted dry and chopped
  • additional freshly grated parmesan cheese, for serving

Instructions

  1. To make the pesto - add the spinach, basil, walnuts, garlic, salt, red pepper and parmesan cheese to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Add in the olive oil and process until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, add the greek yogurt to the bowl with the pesto. Mix to combine. Add the pesto mixture to the bowl with the pasta. Mix until evenly coated. To serve, spoon the pasta into bowls. Top with some walnuts, sun-dried tomatoes and additional parmesan cheese, if desired.
http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2013/09/09/spinach-pesto-pasta-sun-dried-tomatoes-walnuts/

Source:
Cookie Monster Cooking

 

Summer Vegetable Pasta Skillet

Summer Vegetable Pasta Skillet | Cookie Monster Cooking

Summer Vegetable Pasta Skillet | Cookie Monster Cooking

I’m eating tomatoes like they are going out of style.  Same goes for fresh corn.  This seems to happen every year about this point in the summer, when I realize that all the awesome produce available right now will be gone before I know it.

This also means that I buy a little too much every week when I head to the grocery store.  I can totally stick to the rest of my shopping list … but when it comes to fruit and veggies?  Not so much.  I guess it’s better than going overboard with ice cream.  Although that may happen occasionally if we’re telling the truth…

Summer Vegetable Pasta Skillet | Cookie Monster Cooking

And so this pasta was my solution for using up some extra items hanging out in my refrigerator.  Summer produce, half used pieces of cheese, you catch my drift.  It also only requires one skillet – perfect for a weeknight meal.

How can you say no to loads of fresh veggies, cheesy goodness and plenty of herbs?  Apparently my husband can, since he complained the first time I made this since there was no meat.  Not that he didn’t like it … he ate his serving in record time.  And then went back immediately for seconds and told me to make sure I gave him plenty for lunch.  Hmmm I’ll take that as a win for a meatless meal.

Summer Vegetable Pasta Skillet | Cookie Monster Cooking

Go get your summer veggies on while you still can.

Summer Vegetable Pasta Skillet

Yield: about 4 to 5 servings

Summer Vegetable Pasta Skillet

Ingredients

  • 1 pound whole wheat rigatoni (or your favorite pasta)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large zucchini, chopped
  • 2 large ears of corn, kernels removed
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ⅓ cup low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste
  • 1 cup freshly grated smoked mozzarella, divided
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, set a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add in the olive oil and butter. When the butter is melted, add in the onion. Cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add in the zucchini and cook for about 3 minutes, until it starts to soften. Next, add in the corn and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, until it starts to soften. Add in the tomatoes, broth, paprika, salt and red pepper flakes. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the pasta, ½ cup of the mozzarella and all of the parmesan to the skillet. Toss to combine. Sprinkle the top with the remaining mozzarella.
  4. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly on top. Remove from the oven and garnish with the basil and parmesan before serving.
http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2013/08/09/summer-vegetable-pasta-skillet/

Source:
Cookie Monster Cooking

 

Sausage, Red Pepper and Arugula Pasta

Sausage, red pepper and arugula pasta

Sausage, red pepper and arugula pasta

One of the things that I love about cooking is that the possibilities are endless.  There is never a shortage of great recipes, new ideas or inspiration.  But sometimes I get so caught up in my excitement over sharing something new with you, that I forget about my old favorites.  You know, the recipes that I make time and time again – especially the ones that I made long before I even started this blog.

Sausage, red pepper and arugula pasta

This pasta is one of those recipes.  I have been making this for what seems like forever.  It is a quick and easy meal – perfect for busy weekdays.  I honestly can’t believe that I never thought to share it here with you before now.

This dish is so light and fresh.  And you can use whatever type of pasta you have on hand.  It is full of awesome veggies, like tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and arugula, which pair really well with some sliced chicken sausage and a little bit of cheese.  Top it all off with fresh basil and you have a fabulous meal that you’ll want to make again and again.  Well, at least for me : )

Sausage, red pepper and arugula pasta

Sausage, Red Pepper and Arugula Pasta

Yield: 4 servings

Sausage, Red Pepper and Arugula Pasta

Ingredients

  • 13 ounces pasta, such as penne
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 3 links cooked chicken sausage, sliced ¼ to ½ inch thick
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (6 ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped (about 1 ¼ cups)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup low sodium chicken broth
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups loosely packed baby arugula
  • ¼ cup mascarpone cheese
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 8 large fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, set a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the olive oil. When hot, add the shallot and sausage to the skillet. Cook for about 5 to 6 minutes, until the sausage is lightly browned and the shallot is soft. Add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add in the peppers, tomatoes, chicken broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 5 to 6 minutes, until the tomatoes are softened. Stir in the arugula and cook until slightly wilted.
  3. Turn off the heat. Stir in the mascarpone. Next add in the parmesan and drained pasta. Toss until combined. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste (I didn’t add any). Top with the basil.
http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2013/04/01/sausage-red-pepper-and-arugula-pasta/

Source:
Heavily adapted from Fine Cooking.

 

Vegetable-Filled Macaroni and Cheese

Vegetable-filled macaroni and cheese

Vegetable-filled macaroni and cheese

Looking for a new spin on classic mac and cheese?  Especially one that is full of veggies and won’t completely get your New Year’s resolutions off track?  This mac and cheese still has plenty of cheesy goodness, so don’t worry.  While it’s not exactly overly healthy, you can feel better about eating it since it is packed with greens and other good-for-you ingredients.

Vegetable-filled macaroni and cheese

Now, promise me you won’t go running away when you see that greek yogurt and cottage cheese are part of this recipe.  While they may seem a bit strange, they blend in so well with the cheddar and give the dish some creaminess and just a hint of tang that makes it a little different.  In a good way.  And I bet that you won’t even notice them in the final dish!

Vegetable-filled macaroni and cheese

We’re not really big mac and cheese people in our house, but this version is one that I can definitely get behind.  Even my husband, who usually protests over meatless meals, likes this pasta.  Pair it with a salad and you’ve got an easy weeknight meal to add to your rotation.  You’re welcome : )

Vegetable-Filled Macaroni and Cheese

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Vegetable-Filled Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 13 ounces whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli florets
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 cups roughly chopped fresh spinach
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • ½ cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 cups freshly grated cheddar cheese, divided

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and then place in a large bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, add the butter and olive oil to a large skillet set over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add in the onion. Cook until soft, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the garlic and broccoli and cook for about 2 minutes. Next add in the zucchini and mushrooms and cook until the veggies are tender, another 5 to 8 minutes. If needed, add in another 1 teaspoon olive oil to keep them from sticking to the pan.
  5. Add in the spinach and cook until wilted. Turn off the heat and stir in the salt and pepper.
  6. Add the vegetable mixture to the large bowl with the pasta. Next add in the cottage cheese, yogurt and 1 ½ cups of the cheddar cheese. Mix until well combined. Spread the mixture in a 9 by 13 inch baking dish and then sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup of cheddar.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, until heated through and the cheese is melted.
http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2013/01/11/vegetable-filled-macaroni-and-cheese/

Source:
Adapted from Cate’s World Kitchen.  Originally from The New Moosewood Cookbook.

 

Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Lasagna

Pumpkin and goat cheese lasagna

This my friends is some major comfort food.  Comfort food with a seasonal spin, that is.  My family has been having a rough week and when I got back to DC after visiting them over the weekend I was so happy to have some of this lasagna leftover in the fridge.  It is warm and filling and packed with Fall flavors that are always bound to cheer me up.  Now if only I could ship some of this to my family for them to enjoy… but I don’t think that would work out so well!

So about this lasagna.  I really love that it has so many layers of flavor.  You get this wonderful balsamic, slightly caramelized oniony goodness going on from the first layer, which pairs so well with the pumpkin and pine nuts, and is all tied together with parmesan and goat cheese.  This bakes up beautifully, but be sure to let it rest for at least 10 minutes after you take it out of the oven.  If you don’t, you’ll wind up with a runny mess when you try to slice it.  And no one wants that.

This lasagna was actually intended to be “baked” in a crockpot.  Except apparently I didn’t plan so well and realized this after I was already using mine for something else.  In the end it worked out, since baking it in the oven actually takes less time than in the crockpot.  But if I ever try that out, I’ll be sure to update and let you know how it goes.

Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Lasagna

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • 10 to 12 lasagna noodles
  • 1 can (15 ounce) pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped pine nuts
  • ¾ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 8 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Add the olive oil to a skillet set over medium heat. When hot, add the onions. Cook for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Add 3 cloves of the garlic, ½ teaspoon of the salt, ¼ teaspoon of the pepper, the sage, thyme and flour. Mix until well combined and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add in the broth and simmer for several minutes, until the mixture has thickened slightly. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and half of the parsley. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions. Cool with cold water and set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, add the pumpkin, eggs, panko, pine nuts, ½ cup of the parmesan, the remaining half of the parsley, the remaining 1 clove garlic, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Mix until well combined.
  5. In an 8×8 inch pan, spread ⅓ of the onion mixture in the bottom. Top with ⅓ of the lasagna noodles (breaking them to fit in the pan as needed), then ⅓ of the pumpkin mixture, and finally ⅓ of the goat cheese. Repeat this process two more times (onion mixture, lasagna noodles, pumpkin mixture, goat cheese). Top the lasagna with the remaining ¼ cup of parmesan cheese. Cover the pan with aluminum foil.
  6. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned and the center is just set. For the last 10 minutes of baking remove the aluminum foil. Remove the lasagna from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2012/10/26/pumpkin-and-goat-cheese-lasagna/

Source:
Adapted from Art of the Slow Cooker.

 

Penne with Butternut Squash, Bacon and Sage

Penne with butternut squash, bacon and sage

Okay, I know.  Pasta again.  I shared another pasta recipe only two weeks ago, and fair warning that I have one more coming your way soon.  Apparently I am on more of a kick than I originally thought.  But I swear I had to post this dish – it’s good.  Really good.  And I don’t want to hold out on you.  That would be silly.

So here we go.  The last time I made this dish was over a year ago and I was excited to have it again this past week.  When I saw the newly arrived cartons of butternut squash at the food store, I knew this dish had to happen.  It is very different from the pasta recipes I normally make, but in a good way.

This dish is bright and fresh, from a hint of lemon and lots of sage.  The crispy bacon adds some saltiness and the walnuts add a little bit of crunch.  It is all tied together with chicken broth, wine and cream cheese.  Creamy but in a light way.  And let me let you in on a little secret – I don’t really like bacon.  I know, I’m in the minority here.  I would never choose bacon if given the choice of something else.  But in this dish, it just works.  I ate it and liked it.  Craziness.

Penne with Butternut Squash, Bacon and Sage

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 cups butternut squash chunks, about ½ inch in size*
  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 13 ounces whole wheat pasta
  • ¾ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 ounces cream cheese (light is fine)
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
  • 4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • ⅓ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 4 to 6 strips bacon, cooked until crispy and chopped into pieces

Instructions

  1. Place a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. When hot, add in the butternut squash chunks. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the squash is spotty brown. Transfer the chunks to a bowl and set aside.
  2. With the skillet still over medium heat, add in the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, green onions, garlic and nutmeg. Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes, until the green onions are softened. Add in the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Slowly pour in the chicken broth and wine, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  3. Next, add back in the butternut squash. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the squash is tender and the sauce has thickened a bit. Do not stir often or the squash will start to fall apart.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve about ¼ cup of the cooking water, then drain and set aside.
  5. When the squash is finished cooking, turn off the heat. Add in the parmesan, cream cheese, sage, lemon juice and salt/pepper to taste. Gently stir until combined. Add the pasta to the skillet. Use the reserved cooking water, as needed, to loosen the pasta. Top with the chopped walnuts and bacon.

Notes

*I cheated and used pre-cut butternut squash chunks available at our local food store. The original recipe indicates that 1 small butternut squash, about 2 pounds in size, will yield this amount (after it is seeded and cut into chunks).

http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2012/10/17/penne-with-butternut-squash-bacon-and-sage/

Source:
Slightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook.