Made with mashed butternut squash and a simple white cheese sauce, this Butternut Squash Baked Ziti is comforting, freezes great, and simple to make!
There’s a thing I need to tell you about this ziti.
But first, let’s gaze at its beauty a bit:
There’s the white cheddar and mozzarella layer on top that’s sharp and smooth and pulls away in delicious cheese strands of YES PLEASE I WANT SECONDS:
There’s the creamy butternut squash white sauce mixed in around the chunky ziti noodles.
And the pretty smattering of chopped parsley, natch.
But hey mama, guess what? Guess what’s the best part about it?
This butternut squash baked ziti freezes like a BOSS.
Make it. Put it in the freezer. Then pull it out, get the chill off the glass dish if you’re using one (otherwise it might shatter in a hot oven which would be no bueno), and bake that baby up.
Got a friend who just had a baby? Make her this baked ziti and she’ll love you forever. I mean, forever more than she probably already does.
Got a busy season coming up: your kids is in soccer finals, your husband’s working a big project and coming home late for a week, and your calendar is stacked to the nines?
Make a batch of this butternut squash baked ziti in a quiet window of time, and pat yo’self on the back the day you pull it out of the freezer.
Ooh! Do you know what else you could do? Make this butternut squash baked ziti from fresh and then stand over the stove eating it and burning your mouth while doing so because it’s so creamy and cheesy and delicious and simple to make.
Because if I know anything, I know exactly what that is like. I’ve got the mouth burns to prove it.
Butternut Squash Baked Ziti
- 1 large butternut squash about 5 pounds
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose white flour
- 1 cup milk
- 2 garlic clove
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 pound penne pasta
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley chopped
- Roast the butternut squash as directed in steps 1-4.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and then cook the penne until al dente. Rinse with cold water, then transfer to a large resealable bag or container.
- Peel and mince the garlic, and strip the parsley leaves and mince. Then cook the roux according to steps 8-13, then add to the bag or container with the penne and stir to coat.
- These prepped ingredients will last 3-4 days in the fridge, or 1 month in the freezer.
Prepare From Prepped:
- Preheat the oven to 350*F and grease a 9×13” baking dish.
- Combine the butternut squash and penne-cheese sauce mix until combined, then pour into the greased casserole dish.
- Top evenly with shredded cheddar and mozzarella, then bak 8-10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown.
Make From Fresh:
- Preheat the oven to 400*F.
- Prepare the vegetables: Slice the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds.
- Drizzle the squash in oil and lay the halves, skin side down, on a sheet pan. Place the pan in the oven and roast until the squash is soft all the way through, about 20-40 minutes, depending on the size and weight of the squash.
- When the squash is done roasting, turn the oven down to 350*F.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, then add the penne noodles and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain but do not rinse, then set aside until needed.
- Peel and mince the garlic.
- Strip away the inner stems from the parsley leaves, then mince the parsley
- While the squash is roasting, make the cheese sauce: Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat.
- Add the flour and whisk until smooth and combined.
- Cook the roux (butter and flour mix), stirring often, until it has turned a light golden brown, about 3 minutes.
- Whisk in the milk until smooth, then add the garlic, and salt.
- Stir in the parmesan cheese until smooth and combined, then add the mashed butternut squash.
- Stir to combine, then pour the sauce into the cooked penne noodles and stir to coat.
- Pour the penne and cheese sauce into a greased 9×13” baking dish.
- Top the ziti with the shredded cheddar and mozzarella, and place the baking dish in the oven. .
- Bake until the cheese has melted and begun to brown, about 8-10 minutes.
- Top with the freshly chopped parsley and serve.