Pasta with Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese

Butternut squash, oh you know the way to my heart. It’s like if a pumpkin had sex with a zucchini.. This dish is not exactly my most beautiful child, but I wouldn’t present it to you if it didn’t have inherent value. It’s definitely a comfort meal with a mild, but creamy taste of goat cheese in every bite.

Yes, this is a vegetarian dish. But definitely add some grilled chicken if you’d like. There are a lot of textures and tastes, so it is pretty wholesome. Also, walnuts are tremendous in this. They work so well with the cheese and the squash, but feel free to use pecans in a nut-pinch.

Pasta with Butternut Squash and Goat CheeseOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Adapted from the Food Network

Vegetable oil cooking spray
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 large onion, sliced
1/4 cup olive oil, for drizzling
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound penne pasta (I used whole wheat rotini)
10 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted *
1 packed cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup grated Parmesan

Extra salt to season

* Can lay on a large, flat plate and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes or toast in the oven at 350 for 5-7 minutes.

Put an oven rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Spray two baking sheets with vegetable oil cooking spray. Add squash and onion to each (can also mix together) but make sure it forms a single layer; coat with olive oil and season. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until vegetables are golden and cooked through. I removed the onions sooner, as they started to crisp at the edges.

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Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and reserve 2/3 cup of pasta water. Mix the pasta, goat cheese and pasta water.

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Add the squash and onion mixture, the walnuts and the basil.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Toss well and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Top with Parmesan.

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