October 14, 2012

Creamy Penne and Fall Vegetable Casserole

I have a great Food Network daily calendar on my desk, which has a different recipe or cooking tip each day.  I tend to save recipes from the calendar and forget about them, but this one I had to try right away.  I stayed pretty close to the Baked Penne with Fall Vegetables recipe, with just a few modifications based on family preferences and ingredients I had on hand and only made half the recipe (to make 3 servings instead of 6).


  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley (or 1/8 cup fresh)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups thickly sliced leeks (white and tender green parts), thoroughly washed*
  • 3 cups large diced butternut squash
  • 1/6 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 8 oz of penne (1/2 box)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

*Leeks can have a lot of dirt on them, especially in the green leafy part.  Wash by soaking in a large bowl of cold water, straining, and repeating a couple times until the water is clear (no grit floating around).


[Note: For this recipe, you definitely need to chop and measure everything out before hand. There is a good deal of stirring for the sauce, so you can't count on that time to prepare the ingredients while you cook.]

  1. Set a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Pulse the Parmesan and parsley in a food processor until well combined.  Set aside.
  3. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions.  While it is cooking (probably 10-12 minutes), prepare the vegetables and sauce.
  4. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the leeks and squash and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until just tender (5-7 minutes).
  5. Uncover the pot and stir in the flour, sage, and nutmeg.
  6. Reduce the heat to medium and gradually stir in the broth and milk.
  7. Simmer, stirring, until thickened (5-7 minutes).
  8. Season with salt and pepper.
  9. When cooked, drain the pasta.  Then add pasta to the vegetable sauce, along with the mozzarella.
  10. Stir the pasta, cheese, and vegetable sauce until pasta is thoroughly coated.
  11. Spray a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish with nonstick spray.  Pour the pasta mixture into the dish and sprinkle with the Parmesan-parsley topping.
  12. Bake until the top is golden, about 15-20 minutes.  Let rest for several minutes before serving.

Golden, bubbly, melty goodness!

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