Bacon, Kale and Butternut Pasta

Serves 8.

Note: Not a fan of kale? Try Swiss chard or mustard greens. Crème fraïche is a thickened cream similar to sour cream, which could be substituted. From "Cooking Light Pick Fresh Cookbook," by the editors of Cooking Light.

5 c. (1/2 -in.) cubed, peeled butternut squash

• 1 tbsp. olive oil

• Cooking spray

12 oz. uncooked ziti (short, tube-shaped pasta)

• 4 c. chopped kale

• 2 slices bacon

• 2 c. sliced onion

• 1 tsp. salt, divided

• 5 garlic cloves, minced

2 c. fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth, divided

• 2 tbsp. flour

• 1 c. crème fraîche (see Note)

1 1/2 oz. Gruyère cheese (about 1/3 c.)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine squash and oil in a large bowl; toss well. Arrange squash mixture in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake for 30 minutes or until squash is tender.

Cook pasta 7 minutes or until almost al dente (it will continue to cook in the oven). Add kale to pan during last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain pasta mixture.

Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble. Add onion to drippings in pan; cook 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally.

Bring 1 3/4 cups broth to a boil in a small saucepan. Combine 1/4 cup broth and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to broth. Cook 2 minutes or until slightly thick. Remove from heat; stir in crème fraîche.

Combine squash, pasta mixture, bacon, onion mixture and sauce in large bowl; toss gently. Place pasta mixture in a 9- by 13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray; sprinkle evenly with cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned.