1 butternut squash, cut in half or 1 package frozen butternut squash, defrosted*
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 box bowtie pasta (16 ounces)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
A pinch of nutmeg
A pinch of cinnamon
5-6 sage leaves
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
A handful of toasted almonds
If you are using butternut squash halves, pre-heat the oven to 400°F. Place the butternut squash halves on a baking sheet and drizzle them with 1 tablespoon EVOO, salt and pepper. Turn them cut-side down on the baking sheet and transfer them to the oven. Roast until tender, about an hour. Remove the squash from the oven and cool. Once the squash halves are cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh out of the squash. If you are using packaged butternut squash, skip these steps. Add the butternut squash flesh or the packaged butternut squash to a food processor. Process until smooth. If you don't have a food processor, a fine chop will do the trick.
Place a pot of water over high heat for the pasta. Once at a boil, add some salt and the pasta and cook to al dente, according to package directions. Drain the cooked pasta and return it to the pot it was cooked in. While the pasta water is heating up, place a small skillet over medium-high heat with the butter. Once melted, add the flour and cook about a minute. Whisk in the milk and cook until the liquids come up to a bubble and the sauce thickens, 2-3 minutes. Add the squash, nutmeg, cinnamon and sage and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Add the sauce to the pot with the reserved cooked pasta and toss to coat. Turn everything out into a baking dish and sprinkle the top with both cheeses. Transfer to the oven and bake until the cheese is brown and bubbly, 10-15 minutes.
Garnish the casserole with the toasted almonds and serve. *If fresh butternut squash is not available, you may buy frozen. If it is pureed, simply defrost it and add it when it calls for it. If it is not pureed, you may put it in a food processor or finely chop it. This is one of many "Yum-o!" recipes – it's good and good for you. To find out more about Yum-o!, Rachael's nonprofit organization, go to www.yum-o.org.