A Hearty Fall Dinner….

Fall is in the air….well up north it is.  Here in Florida we do the best we can….Pumpkin Spice Latte’s, pumpkin doughnuts from Dunkin’ Donuts, burning a fall scented candle and finding recipes like the one I tried tonight.  I was inspired by the fall season to make this delicious dish from the October 2012 issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine.  My weakness is cheese, especially good cheese and when I saw that the recipe called for  smoked Gruyere,  I nearly fell out of my chair!  This recipe was so good we all went back for seconds and my husband went for thirds!  Pair this with a good Merlot or Cabernet and you are all set.  Comfort food at it’s best!


12  ounces dried rigatoni
1  1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks (3 1/2 cups)
2 3/4  cups milk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
8 ounces smoked Gruyere cheese, shredded (2 cups)
8 slices bacon (you could easily substitute the bacon with tempeh bacon, bacon bits, or the Morning Star Farm Veggie Bacon)
2 small sweet onions, cut into chunks
3 ounces sourdough bread (I used bread crumbs that I already had in the pantry)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of pepper
fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Lightly butter a 3-quart au gratin or baking dish; set aside. I didn’t have a 3 qt. dish so I used 2 2qt. dishes. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; transfer to a large bowl.


Meanwhile, in a large saucepan combine the squash and 2 1/2 cups of the milk over medium-high heat. Bring to boiling; reduce heat to medium, and simmer until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork, 18 to 20 minutes. Stir together remaining 1/4 cup milk and flour; stir into squash mixture. Bring to boiling; cook until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the Gruyere until melted; keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a very large skillet cook bacon until crisp; drain on paper towels. Crumble; set aside. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons bacon drippings. Return skillet to the heat.

Add onions to skillet; cover and cook over low heat 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and increase heat to high. Cook 4 to 6 minutes more, stirring, until onions are golden.

Add squash-cheese mixture, onions, salt,  pepper and  bacon to the bowl with the pasta. Toss well to combine, then transfer to prepared baking dish.

Place bread in a food processor and pulse with two or three on/off turns to form large coarse crumbs (you should have about 2 cups). Transfer to a small bowl; mix with melted butter. Sprinkle remaining Gruyere and the bread crumbs over pasta mixture.  Bake until top is browned, about 14 to 15 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

This recipe made so much it filled 2 2qt. dishes.  And was more than enough for my family of 4.   We had another whole dish for left overs.

butternut squash recipe

So so yummy!  Enjoy

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