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Squasheroni and Cheese

I started cooking with my mom when I was very young. I think I started by helping lick the beaters when she made chocolate chip cookies. Then I graduated to helping melt the butter and chocolate for brownies… and licking the spoon. I’m not exactly sure when I made the transition to helping with dinner. I do know that by the time I was in junior high I was cooking or at least beginning the dinners on my own. I know this because junior high is when I sustained my first real kitchen injury.

Mom was on her way home from work and I asked if I could start making dinner. It was lasagna. My younger brother, Cory, and my buddy, Jennifer, were in the kitchen with me. The noodles had just finished boiling and I was getting ready to drain them. I walked the large pasta pot over to the sink. I was mid-sentence talking about who-knows-what fantastic story. I sat the pot down on the ledge in front of the sink. I let go with my left hand to motion, because I talk with my hands and arms. The pot lost balance and my skinny right arm wasn’t strong enough to steady the pasta pot full of just-boiling water. I tried to grab the pot with my left hand, but it was too late. Instead, I caught the cascade of about 6 quarts of very hot water along with the lasagna noodles on my left arm. I don’t remember being in immediate pain. I remember beginning to pick up the noodles and put them back in the pot. Then I remember my friend telling me to stop, that she would clean it up, and my brother running next door to get Ruth who was a nurse.

The next thing I remember is seeing all the blisters from my wrist to my elbow, and watching them change and heal over the course of a few weeks. I still have a very faint scar on my inner arm, it is the kind that only shows up when I’m cold. I had to keep my arm wrapped because the exposure to air was very painful. Finally, I remember that I got to skip a week of P.E. because it was difficult to change or do anything strenuous. The ace bandage guarding my arm probably made the injury appear more serious than it was.

What a great story to go along with a recipe for pasta, yes? Don’t be like me! When you’re ready to drain the large pot of pasta, go ahead and drain it! Definitely do not place it on a ledge and let go with one hand! That was never a good idea. What was a good idea, was to add four ounces of goat cheese to some pasta to create a tangy and creamy delicious dinner. I love the sweetness of the butternut squash, and I’m sure the nutrition it bring to the table is pretty good, too.

Yield: 6-8

Squasheroni and Cheese

Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour


  • 1 medium butternut squash, about 2 pounds
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1-2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons kosher salt, separated
  • 1 pound pasta
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper, if desired


  1. Heat the oven to 450F.
  2. Cut the butternut squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and place, cut side up, on a baking sheet.
  3. Rub with oil, sprinkle with salt, and add the garlic cloves to the baking sheet. Bake until the squash is fork tender, about 45 minutes.
  4. When the squash has 10 minutes left to cook, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the pasta according to package directions. Reserve 2 cups of the pasta cooking liquid, drain the pasta, and set aside.
  5. Once the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh into a blender (I like to leave a bit out that I cut into chunks to top the pasta).
  6. Add the garlic, lemon juice, goat cheese, black pepper, and 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid to the blender along with the squash. Blend until you reach a sauce consistency, adding more pasta water as needed.
  7. Pour the sauce over the pasta.
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