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This week, a Merrill-ific dinner, because who doesn't love that? Her so-good-it's-silly Pasta Al Forno is rib-sticking, whole-body-warming food. Plus, it serves 8, so make the full batch and you'll have enough for dinner tonight and tomorrow night: always a bonus, but this week a must. Shaved brussels sprouts offer freshness and crunch, welcome alongside the creamy baked pasta.
3 cups brussels sprouts
One 3 to 4 pound cheese pumpkin or butternut squash
1/4 pound thick-sliced pancetta
1 pound conchiglie rigate (pasta shells)
2 cups heavy cream
Cheeses: fresh mozzarella, Pecorino Romano, fontina, gorgonzola, and a smidge of fresh ricotta (or use up what's in the cheese drawer)
We assume you have salt, black pepper, olive oil, an onion, a lemon, and a little honey. If not, you'll need those too!
1. Roast the squash -- it takes about an hour. But the good news is that it takes all of 30 seconds to prepare. For the first 20 minutes of roasting time, kick back with a cocktail, or read a book. Relax.
2. Start soaking your onion slices for the salad, because they need at least 15 to 20 minutes, and a little extra can't hurt. While you're at it, mix up the dressing too.
3. Boil the pasta; set it aside.
4. Scoop out the roasted squash, mix up that gloriously gooey, cheesy sauce, and pop the whole beautiful mess into the oven to finish.
5. Shave the sprouts, toss the salad and serve! Two dinners prepared in one go! Something to be thankful for, indeed.