Penne with Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese.

This is absolutely one of my most favorite pasta dishes to make and if I hadn’t been channel surfing on the couch in the middle of the afternoon one week day at the beginning of summer I may never have stumbled upon this delectable recipe. And if I hadn’t seen Giada De Laurentiis physically make this dish on her show, Giada At Home on the Food Network, I also wouldn’t have wanted to make it so damn badly.

So there’s the butternut squash. Not only does it have amazing health benefits, it’s probably the most delicious of all it’s squash relatives (my opinion). It’s not overly sweet, kinda of creamy, almost butter-like (oh right, its name…) and this dish wouldn’t really be the same without it. Then there’s the goat cheese. I had never cooked with goat cheese until I made this dish. I’m not sure why I made a point to keep this cheese out of my kitchen for so long but I really regret it. When the goat cheese melts over and into and on-top-of the roasted butternut squash in this dish, your first bite progresses into a mouth-full, but still audible, moan of pure taste bud ecstasy. This particular sweet and tangy flavor combination is almost genius.

I just want to be clear, I have definitely strayed from the original recipe. Not that the original recipe isn’t amazing because it’s obvious Giada knows her way around pasta. But, I am now a full-time college student living far far from home. Reducing her recipe down to only 4 (primary) ingredients, means I can still enjoy this amazing pasta as often as my heart desires, and still have money around to buy school supplies and indulge my soy-vanilla latte addiction at Starbuck’s.

I start off with my 4 (primary) ingredients…

One butternut squash, one onion, any kind of penne pasta, and goat cheese.

Peel the squash, remove the seeds and chop into cubes. Dice the onion and then place on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Let them sit in the oven at 425 〫for 45 minutes.

Usually while the squash and onions are roasting I’ll make myself a cocktail and tidy up the kitchen but that’s just a suggestion.

Usually around 25 mins I start to boil the water for the pasta to cook since it only takes about 10 mins or so for the water to boil. I add salt right before I add the pasta, give it a quick stir and let it cook for about 10-11 mins. Once the pasta is done cooking, I drain into a colander and get ready to take the squash and onions out of the oven.

Just combine the pasta, squash, onions and goat cheese together in a bowl and ta-da! Seriously one of the most delicious meals ever. No exaggeration. My friends and roommates go crazy when I make this pasta, which usually ends up being every other week or so.

Check out the original recipe if you want to really impress people. Seriously, this pasta is amazing.


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