Birthday Dinner Party

We hosted a last minute dinner party for a friend’s birthday and here is the spread!

Butternut Squash, Goat Cheese and Rigatoni Bake

Recipe from Foodess

Serves 6
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, and cut in 1/2 inch cubes
3 tbsp olive oil
1 lb rigatoni
3 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (I find it easiest to use scissors)
2 medium onions, cut in half then sliced thinly crosswise
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
3 cups milk
pepper
pinch nutmeg
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
1/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs or panko
salt
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss squash cubes with oil, and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet; season with salt. Bake until tender and caramelized, about 25 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook pasta as directed; drain and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium pan over medium-high heat, cook bacon until crispy. Remove using a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on paper towel. Pour out all but 1-2 tablespoons of fat – enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Add onions, sprinkle with sugar, and cook over medium-high heat until meltingly tender and deeply caramelized, stirring occasionally (about 20 minutes). Stir in balsamic vinegar; set aside.
3. While onions are caramelizing, make the sauce. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat, cooking until butter smells fragrantly nutty and is a warm brown colour. Whisk in flour and cook 2 minutes. Very slowly pour in milk, whisking constantly. Cook over medium-low heat until sauce thickens, about 8 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
4. In a very large bowl, toss the pasta with the sauce, roasted squash, bacon, caramelized onions, goat cheese and sage leaves. Transfer to a large baking dish, and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake until edges are crispy and breadcrumbs are golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Maple Glazed Parsnips and Carrots

From Martha Stewart
Ingredients

1 1/4 pounds (about 6) parsnips, peeled, halved lengthwise
3/4 pound thin carrots, (about 12), peeled, greens trimmed but not removed
4 slices bacon, each cut into 4 pieces
10 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with rack in lower third. Place parsnips, carrots, bacon, and thyme in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.
Drizzle with syrup; season with salt and pepper. Toss well to combine.
Bake until bottoms of vegetables begin to caramelize and turn dark brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and toss vegetables carefully. Return to oven, and bake until all sides are well browned, about 25 minutes more. Discard bacon and thyme. Serve immediately.

Then we had green beans that were sautéed in the leftover bacon grease (yum!!!) and brussel sprouts that were also cooked with bacon and in bacon fat.

Then the cake was vanilla bean with a vanilla latte buttercream. Such a fun evening!
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