Penne with Bacon, Butternut Squash and Spinach

I wasn’t crazy about this one actually.  Maybe it was because peeling the squash nearly killed my back, or because the squash ended up really mushing up into almost a sauce on its own, but I wasn’t crazy about it.  Jagger seemed to like it, but I thought it was too similar to a BLT pasta that I make which is way better!
Penne with Bacon, Butternut Squash and Spinach
Serves: 4  Prep: 10 min  Cook: 20 min
1 pound penne rigate pasta
4 slices bacon
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
3 cups baby spinach
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tablspoons chopped flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta for 7 minutes (the pasta will only be partially cooked).  Drain, reserving 2 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water.
2. Meanwhile, in an extra-large skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp, about 5 minutes.  Drain on paper towels, then crumble the bacon once it is cool enough to handle.  Discard all but 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat in the pan.  (I didn’t follow this part, because I think it’s ridiculous to only cook 4 pieces of bacon.  I never cook less than a pound of bacon, otherwise I think it’s a waste of time.  I prefer to cut up the bacon while it’s raw, then cook the whole thing.  Then you can use what you need and throw the rest in the fridge in a container for later.  Much simpler than cooking it a few strips at a time.)
3. Add the olive oil and squash to the skillet.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 7 minutes.  Add the pasta and 2 cups of the reserved pasta cooking water.  Bring to a boil and cook, stirring, until the pasta and squash are cooked, about 5 minutes, adding additional pasta cooking water if needed.
4. Remove from the heat and stir in the spinach, garlic and parsley.  Season generously with salt and pepper, sprinkle with the cheese and crumbled bacon.
I burned the bacon a little bit, which also might have added to my disinterest in this dish.  I was in kind of a crabby mood that day.

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