This is another amazing recipe from the genius of Mark Bittman. He makes pasta healthier by adding lots of vegetables and using whole wheat pasta. I also love the addition of lamb. It is so much more flavorful than beef and has less marbling- making it less fatty. I found kasseri cheese at Whole Foods but I think that parmesan would work as well.
Multi-Grain Pasta with Butternut Squash, Ground Lamb, and Kasseri
Adapted from Bon Appétit
Makes 4 servings
4 8-ounce packages fresh peeled cubed butternut squash (5 to 6 cups)
1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
8 ounces ground lamb
2 1/2 cups chopped onions
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes with added puree (from 28-ounce can)
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
8 ounces multi-grain penne pasta (such as barilla)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
1/2 cup grated kasseri cheese, divided
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butternut squash and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is cooked, about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add lamb and onions; sauté until lamb browns and onions soften, 7 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and next 3 ingredients; stir 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, then broth and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Reduce heat; simmer until mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Stir in squash. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot. Add lamb mixture, half of cilantro, and half of cheese; toss. Add reserved cooking liquid by 1/3 cupfuls to moisten. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer pasta to bowl. Sprinkle with remaining cilantro and cheese.