Penne with Bacon, Butternut Squash and Spinach

November 2010
Penne with Bacon, Butternut Squash and Spinach

by 12 people

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Makes: 4 servings

Prep: 10 mins

Cook: 20 mins

  • 1 pound penne rigate pasta
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  1. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta for 7 minutes (the pasta will only be partially cooked). Drain, reserving 2 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water.
  2. Meanwhile, in an extra-large skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels, then crumble the bacon once it is cool enough to handle. Discard all but 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat in the pan.
  3. Add the olive oil and squash to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 7 minutes. Add the pasta and 2 cups of the reserved pasta cooking water. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring, until the pasta and squash are cooked, about 5 minutes, adding additional pasta cooking water if needed.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in the spinach, garlic and parsley. Season generously with salt and pepper; sprinkle with the cheese and crumbled bacon.
  • Season pasta water with enough salt to make it taste like seawater.
  • Place leftovers in a baking dish, toss with heavy cream and dot with butter; bake at 350 degrees until warmed through.
  • Swap in crumbled goat cheese for the grated parmesan.