Revised 2012 Apr 15
8 slices bacon
1 large onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 sprigs sage leaves, minced (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
3 sprigs thyme leaves, minced (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups milk
16 ounces penne pasta
1/3 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and oil lightly. Cut the squash in half from the stem to the bottom. Place the cut sides down on the prepared baking sheet and roast until the skin can be easily pierced with a knife, about 45 minutes.
Remove from oven and set aside until it is cool enough to handle. Remove the skin and put the flesh into a bowl. Mash the squash until it's semi smooth.
Meanwhile cook the bacon in a 3 quart pot until nearly crisp. Reserve the fat and set the bacon aside to cool. Crumble or chop into 1/4" pieces
In the same pot, heat two tablespoons of the reserved fat and sauté the onion for 4 - 5 minutes and then add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the mashed squash, sage, stock, and milk. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Stir frequently. Season with salt and pepper to taste and keep warm while cooking the pasta.
Reduce oven heat to 350°F.
In the 8-quart pot bring water to a boil. Cook the pasta in the boiling water until almost al dente. The pasta will absorb some of the liquid from the sauce in the oven, so don't overcook it. Drain well and put back into the pot.
Pour the sauce over the pasta in the pot, stirring to mix well. Pour sauce and pasta into the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle grated parmigiano Reggiano and crumbled bacon on top. Bake for 15 minutes, until the sauce is a little bubbly and the cheese is a light gold color. Serve hot.
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