Butternut Squash and Spinach Pasta Bake

Butternut Squash and Spinach Pasta Bake | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

If this isn’t your first time here, you know that I love my slow cooker.  Like a lot.  Like use it whenever I get the chance.  So of course, when I saw on Pinterest that it was possible to cook a butternut squash in the slow cooker, I jumped.

I love butternut squash, but the cooking process always really annoys me.  You’re either trying not to cut your finger off, hacking away at it with a huge knife or trying to peel off the skin, and then scraping the seeds out like a pumpkin.  On top of it, you have to bake it for an hour before you can even really get started with your recipe.  So ugh to that.  Too much work for a normal day with a toddler and an infant.

Butternut Squash and Spinach Pasta Bake | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

When I read online how easy it was to cook it in the slow cooker, I thought it was wrong.  It couldn’t be.  Simply wipe the skin clean and pop it in for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.  Remove, cut in half (easily, without risking your fingers), and scoop out the seeds (without having to scrape the heck out of it) and use a spoon to scoop out the delicious cooked insides.  That’s it, people.

Butternut Squash and Spinach Pasta Bake | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

I didn’t believe it could be true.  Too easy to be true.  I couldn’t have been spending all of these years and risking all of these fingers for there to be this easy of a solution.  That requires a crock pot.  Which I clearly already have living on my kitchen counter and use any excuse that I can to plug in.  But it was so true my friends.  I will never bake another butternut squash as long as I live.  Crock pot forever!

Mmmk so the recipe.  I was envisioning this as kind of a lasagna type dish and then Trader Joe’s was out of lasagna noodles and I was too lazy to drive all the way to Target.  Fun fact, if you mix lasagna ingredients into pasta and bake it, it makes a delicious dish reminiscent of said lasagna without all of the obnoxious work of layering.

And it’s cold and rainy and yuck here.  So anything with squash and pasta and warmth and deliciousness is just right in my boat.  Enjoy!

Butternut Squash and Spinach Pasta Bake | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Butternut Squash & Spinach Pasta Bake
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 medium butternut squash, cooked and skin and seeds removed
  • 2 cups spinach, chopped
  • 1 lb pasta, cooked according to package
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1½ cups mozzarella
  • ½ cup parmesan
  • 1 T preminced garlic
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t black pepper
  • ¼ t nutmeg
  • ¼ t cinnamon
  • A dash of ginger
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  2. Mash butternut squash in a large bowl
  3. Add chopped spinach, ricotta, milk, garlic, salt, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger and stir to combine.
  4. Stir in 1 cup mozzarella and cooked pasta
  5. Spray a 9x13 pan with nonstick cooking spray and turn entire mixture into the pan
  6. Top with remaining ½ cup mozzarella and parmesan.
  7. Cover and cook for 30 minutes, then uncover and cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and slightly brown.

Butternut Squash and Spinach Pasta Bake | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

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