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#CookClub recipe No. 4: Butternut Squash Pasta Casserole with Gruyere and Pecans

This week's #CookClub recipe is Butternut Squash Pasta Casserole with Gruyére and Pecans.

It's a hearty vegetarian dish that just might find a place on the Thanksgiving table as a main dish. It could also work as a side dish for a potluck Thanksgiving that features traditional roast turkey.

As an option for meat-eaters, diced bacon could be rendered to saute the onion and mushrooms in.

The recipe calls for the butternut squash to be peeled and diced, then simmered in milk. The milk, which has been flavored by the squash, is used to make the sauce for the pasta. It's an interesting way to cook the vegetable, which is most often roasted.

Check out the video for tips on how to peel the squash, which has a bit of an odd shape.

If you're participating in our online #CookClub, the key is to remember #Cookclub because that's how you'll want to tag everything. You'll have two weekends to make the recipe and post a photo on Instagram with your comments. Photos and comments for the Butternut Squash Pasta Casserole with Gruyére and Pecans are due by 6 p.m. Nov. 3. Some of the photos and comments will be printed in the Tampa Bay Times food section on Nov. 6.

As part of the #Cookclub conversation, join us from 7 to 8 p.m. every Thursday for a #Cookclub chat on Twitter. On Thursday, we'll be talking about our favorite Halloween candy and what to do with the haul.

It's been fun to see the different results through photos on Instagram and read comments from #CookClub. There's always someone going rogue and using the slow cooker just to experiment!

Questions? Direct them to @roadeats on Twitter and tag them #CookClub or email to jkeeler@tampabay.com.

MODERATE

Butternut Squash Pasta Casserole

With Gruyere and Pecans

Deadline for photos and comments on Instagram is 6 p.m. Nov. 3. Tag them #CookClub.

3/4 pound rotini, radiatore or medium shells

1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 small onion, diced small

2 portobello mushroom caps, diced small

10 to 12 sage leaves, coarsely chopped

1 (2-pound) butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1-inch chunks

2 cups milk or cream (or a combination)

2 teaspoons salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese, divided use

1 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a 9- by 13-inch baking dish with olive oil. Fill a large pot halfway with water, salt generously and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for about 5 minutes less than recommended by the package directions. Drain and set aside.

In a large pot (you can use the rinsed pasta pot) heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, diced mushroom and sage and cook until the onion is translucent and mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the chopped squash and cook with the onions and mushrooms for 3 to 4 minutes. Pour in the milk and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to low and cover the pot. Cook just until the squash is barely tender when pierced with a fork. The cooking time will depend both on the squash and the size of the chunks, but it should be around 10 minutes.

Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir in pasta and 1 cup cheese. Spread in prepared baking dish and top with the chopped pecans. (At this point, the casserole may be covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Bring to room temperature before baking.) Top with remaining ½ cup cheese. Bake covered for 15 minutes, then uncover and bake 10 more minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 6 to 8.

Source: Adapted from Not Your Mother's Casseroles by Faith Durand (Harvard Common Press, 2010)

#CookClub recipe No. 4: Butternut Squash Pasta Casserole with Gruyere and Pecans 10/21/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 2:42pm]

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