Creamy Autumn Pasta


Welcome fall with fusilli pasta wrapped in a luscious butternut squash cream sauce and then baked until golden and bubbly.  The harvest moon color of the sauce alone should make you feel warm and fuzzy inside! The inspiration for this recipe came to me when my husband and I celebrated our 4-year anniversary at an Italian restaurant in Insa-dong, Seoul.  I ordered the pumpkin cream pasta.  I think my rendition is much much healthier and equally as delicious!

Creamy Autumn Pasta

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

For Sauce:

– 1 cup cubed squash (butternut, acorn, or pumpkin, I used acorn)

-2 Tbls butter (you could substitute ‘I can’t Believe it’s Not Butter,’ but I recommend splurging with real butter!)

-2 Tbls flour (white or wheat)

-1 3/4 cups warmed milk (I used 2%)

-1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

-1/4 tsp ground black pepper

-1/2 tsp salt

-3 Tbls powdered Parmesan cheese  (the stuff in the tub, we take what we can get here in Korea!)

-1 chicken bouillon cube

-1/4 cup water

Remaining Ingredients:

-1/2 bag (250 g) of fusilli pasta (I like whole wheat, bow-ties would be nice too)

-1/4 cup part-skim mozzarella, grated

-1 Tbls powdered Parmesan cheese

-1 tsp dried basil

Directions

*Note- If you don’t want to do a baked pasta, I recommend using the sauce over cheese tortellini or fettuccine, but those are both pretty rare in Korea.

1) Put the squash in a steamer basket over boiling water (be sure the water does not actually touch the squash).  Steam for about 10 minutes or until the squash can easily me mashed with a fork.

2) Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat and add the flour stirring constantly.  Once combined (about 30 seconds), add in the warm milk slowly while whisking at the same time.  Don’t worry if there are small lumps, this sauce will be blended.

3) Add the nutmeg, pepper, and salt.  Let the sauce simmer over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes until it is thick like Alfredo sauce.  Stir often with a spatula so the sauce does not stick to the bottom or get a ‘pudding top.’

4) Once the sauce is nice and thick, mix in the 3 Tbls  of Parmesan cheese and turn off the heat.  Again, don’t worry if there are small lumps of cheese, it is about to be blended!

5) Mix the chicken bouillon cube in 1/4 cup of water to make broth.

6) In a blender, combine the sauce, squash and chicken broth.  Pulse for a few seconds and then blend for about 15-20 seconds until it looks like soup.

7) Do a quick taste-test of the sauce because it is delicious and you will probably want to drink it at this point, but you may want to add more salt or pepper etc…

8) Cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Should take about 7-9 minutes.

9) Drain the pasta and put it back into the pot.  Add the sauce to the pasta, combine well.

10) Pour the pasta mixture into an oven safe dish.  Top with the mozzarella cheese, 1 Tbls of Parmesan cheese powder and the basil.

11) Put the pasta in the oven and bake on the toast or broil setting for about 5-10 minutes until the top is golden and bubbly. Make sure to watch it, so it doesn’t burn on top.

Enjoy!

Below are the ingredients used in this recipe. The butter and mozzarella cheese can be found at Costco, the pre-peeled and chopped squash can be found at Home Plus or Costco (seasonally), the Parmesan cheese at Home Plus or Costco, and the chicken bouillon, pasta and basil can be found at Home Plus.  The nutmeg (which really adds to the flavor) can be found on gmarket.com, I have not really looked  in stores, I brought mine from the good ol’ USA.  If you must substitute, I think sage or thyme would be nice, but it would change the flavor profile.

Nutrition Information:

For 1 Serving: 377 Calories, 11.4 g Fat, 6.9 g Saturated Fat, 32.1 mg Cholesterol, 654.1 mg Sodium, 54.3 g Carbohydrates, 6.1 g Fiber, 7.9 g Sugars, 16 g Protein.

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