March just sounds like spring, doesn't it? Please? Although in Minnesota, it certainly doesn't look like spring yet. Oh, it's nice and sunny but there are still piles and piles of snow I know we're in for a serious good dumping of more snow. It always happens in March. *sigh*
I found this recipe at Eats Well With Others and fell instantly in love. Seriously. It's everything I adore in one irresistible little package. Actually not so little because this made a ton of food. I loved the caramelized onions and the creaminess of the cheese. I made this late last week and have been loving the leftovers all weekend.
I tried getting the kids to eat it but I think the herbs were too much for them. I tried selling it as a grown up version of mac and cheese. They didn't buy it. Phooey on them, I just get to eat more of it. I actually enjoyed this more as it sat in the frig, I think the flavors came together even better after sitting.
Cheesy Butternut Squash Baked Ziti
1 lb. penne pasta (I used a 13 oz. box)
2 lbs. butternut squash, roasted, scooped out and pureed
2 large onions, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
15 oz. part - skim ricotta cheese
8 oz. shredded mozzarella
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
2 cups milk, 1%
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. basil
1/4 cup milk, 1%
Spray large pan with cooking spray and caramelize the onions on low to medium heat for about 30 - 40 minutes. Be patient, you want caramelized onions, not fried onions. Stir occasionally and season with salt and pepper. Add garlic for the last couple of minutes to the onion. Remove from heat. Cook the pasta until done. Pour cooked pasta and the caramelized onions into large bowl, mix together.
Melt butter in same pan as you caramelized the onions, whisk in flour, cook for 2 - 3 minutes over low heat. Whisk in 2 cups of milk slowly and simmer for a few minutes stirring often until sauce begins to thicken. Stir in nutmeg, thyme, sage and basil. Pour sauce into bowl with pasta and toss to coat. Mix the ricotta and the squash together in bowl. Mix in the egg and 1/4 cup milk, mix everything into the pasta mixture. Salt and pepper to taste. I used quite a bit of salt and pepper and added more at the end.
Spray 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray. Dump about 1/2 of the pasta mixture into pan. Top with half of mozzarella cheese. Put in the rest of the pasta mixture and top with the other half of mozzarella cheese. Cook at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes until top turns golden brown. Let set for five minutes before serving.
Total calories = 3668 calories
8 servings = 459 calories per serving
1 serving Cheesy Butternut Squash Baked Ziti = 459 calorie dinner
Calories calculated from Calorieking.com, some numbers are rounded and approximate.