Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 45 minutes
- 1 butternut squash
- 1 pound ziti
- 1 cup half & half (or cream)
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (fresh grated is best)
- 8 ounces Gruyere cheese
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Salt and pepper
Place halved squashes cut-side down on a cookie sheet. Poke repeatedly with a fork.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes until the squash are super-tender. The cooking time will vary depending on the size of the squash.
When the squash are cool enough to handle, scoop all the meat out with a spoon and add it to your food processor bowl, or just a big bowl for mashing.
Combine the half and half (or cream), cayenne pepper, nutmeg, and about half of the cheese with the butternut squash. Puree it until smooth and season with a good pinch of salt and pepper.
If it’s not really creamy, add a bit more Half & Half or cream. Also, give it a taste at this point. It should be really smooth and flavorful with just a tiny amount of spice.
Cook the ziti and then mix the butternut squash mixture and the ziti noodles together. Butter a 9×13 baking dish well. Add all the ziti and smooth it out, then sprinkle on the rest of the cheese.
Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is really melted and the ziti is slightly browned around the edges. Let it cool for a few minutes before eating/serving.