Here’s a pasta casserole recipe that’s not as cheesy as the usual ones, thus making it lighter and more diet-friendly. You can re-interpret this recipe based on the seasons: try replacing the butternut squash with roasted tomatoes and zucchini in the summer, or some asparagus and dill in the spring. Don’t forget to add the toasted almonds (or some other nuts) for some crunch!
zest of one large lemon
8 ounces dried whole wheat penne (or other pasta)
3 handfuls spinach, chard or kale, chopped
1 1/2 cups butternut squash, peeled and sliced into small pieces
2 large egg yolks
2 cups low-fat Greek yogurt
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
8 large Kalamata olives, pitted and torn into pieces
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
Butter or oil an 8×12-inch baking dish, or two smaller gratin dishes.
Sprinkle with lemon zest and set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt and cook the penne until al dente.
About 10 seconds before the pasta is cooked, stir in the spinach and butternut squash; drain quickly and carefully.
Run cold water over the pasta, squash and spinach (just enough to stop it from cooking), shake off any extra water and set aside.
While waiting for the pasta water to boil, whisk together the eggs, yogurt, garlic, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Set aside until the pasta is ready, then add the pasta-squash-spinach mixture to the yogurt mixture and stir in half of the almonds.
Scoop the mixture into the prepared baking dish, sprinkle with Feta cheese and the olive pieces and bake for about 25-30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and serve sprinkled with the remaining almonds and some chopped fresh mint.