Whip up this outstanding pasta and squash casserole for an easy family meal. Mini penne pasta works well in this dish since it's about the same size as the squash. You can also use elbow macaroni, shell pasta, or orecchiette.
I'm just going to say it up front: the key to this whole dish is the cheese. (Isn't it always?) Cooked long and slow, this cheese melts into the rice and forms a crust on the bottom of the pan. The whole dish becomes infused with rich, smoky, caramelized cheddar, which a taste that's just this side of heaven.
This is not at all difficult to make - although you can use uncooked bacon strips I prefer to semi-cook the bacon in the oven first just to release some fat but do not cook until crisp or wrapping it around the chicken will be impossible - the chicken may be prepared up to one day in advance, which makes this great dinner party food, just cover refrigerate and mix up the sauce when ready to bake :)
Though filling enough as a main dish, you can also serve smaller portions of this creamy, cheesy casserole as a tasty side to scrambled eggs. We enjoyed the way the Classic Melts cheese blend melted over the casserole; substitute cheddar cheese if you can't find this product.
The sandwich starts with thick rustic Italian bread, hearty enough to support the fillings but still tender. There are three kinds of cheese in play...and the toasty bread is infused with garlic flavor by rubbing it with cut garlic cloves.