I love making this dish as I simply tell my kids to ‘eat your noodles’. They did and are now hooked. This dish would easily feed 6 so is great for when you have company over. I originally found this casserole at Martha Stewart but have adapted it a bit as I wanted to improve its nutritional value even more AND add a bit more moisture.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1.5-2 large sweet onions, halved and thinly sliced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/2 teaspoons chopped dried rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or ¼ teaspoon ground thyme
1 box (~13 oz) whole grain, blend or whole wheat penne
2 cups butternut squash puree*
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water 2 minutes less than package instructions suggest. Drain the pasta but reserve the cooking water. Return pasta to pot.
2. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions, season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until onions for 15 minutes (they are now soft and have released liquid).
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray (preferably butter flavored).
4. Uncover the onions, raise heat to medium and continue stirring frequently until onions are browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in rosemary and thyme.
5. Stir squash into onions; simmer 1-2 minutes. Toss squash mixture and 1/4 cup Parmesan with pasta. Transfer to prepared dish.
6. Top pasta with remaining ¼ cup parmesan cheese and bake until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes
*Recipe to make your own here or look for a box of frozen puree however, most on market and made with the squash and a bunch of oddly named chemicals so try to make your own.
Butternut Squash Puree
10 oz frozen butternut squash
1 cup reserved hot pasta water
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pour the frozen squash into a large bowl and add 1 cup of the hot pasta water (after pasta done cooking) and allow to sit for about 5 minutes until squash is thawed. Place half on the mixture into a blender, being sure to allow ventilation. Blend/puree until smooth. Repeat with remaining mixture. Continue at step 5 above.