Thursday, January 20, 2011

Warm Winter Nights: Baked Shells with Winter Squash

It's been cold and snowy here in the northeast the last few weeks. I'm not so into the cold, but when it snows, it is truly beautiful. I almost forgot how much I love it when it snows. I'd love it more if I could cozy up in my house with a fire and a big cup of hot tea after a bit of frolicking with my hounds, but unfortunately I've had to go to work the last few snow days. If I did get the chance to stay home on a snow day and play in the snow, I think I'd end the day with a warm dish of baked shells.

I love baked shells and was so excited when I found this dish because it's done with my kind of twist! It's cheesy and a little sweet- kinda like me! It's also pretty quick, easy and inexpensive. And if we had some little kiddies running around, I think it'd be a great way to sneak some veggies into their dinner! They'll totally buy it if you tell them it's mac and cheese.

Baked Shells with Winter Squash

4 tbsp olive oil
2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
salt and pepper
2 tsps chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 lb small pasta shells
1 12 oz pkg frozen winter squash puree, thawed
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 slices crusty bread, cut into 1/4" cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Heat 3 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook about 15 minutes, until onions are soft and release liquid. Uncover and raise heat to medium. Cook, stirring until onions are browned, 20-25 minutes. Stir in 1 tsp rosemary.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water about 2 minutes less than package instructions. Drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups pasta water and return pasta to pot.

Stir squash and reserved pasta water into onions. Simmer 2 minutes. Toss squash mixture and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese with pasta. Transfer to prepared baking dish.

Combine bread cubes with remaining Parmesan, rosemary, and oil. Season with salt and pepper. Top pasta with bread cubes. Bake until golden brown, 10-15 minutes. Serves 6.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

1 comment:

  1. I am enjoying these cold weather recipes! Question: is winter squash the same as butternut? And if not, where does one get winter squash?

    PS - love those salt & pepper shakers!!