Saturday, 21 September 2013

Butternut Mac and Cheese

I've seen a few recipes floating around for this dish, and have been patiently waiting for my homegrown butternut squash to be ready for harvest.  The flavour of the squash is not quite as prominent as I would have liked; probably overpowered by the cheese, but I like my mac to be cheesy!  So I guess this would be a great dish for parents who have to trick their kids into eating veggies ...

This can be eaten right off the stovetop.  But I added garlic-butter breadcrumbs so baked it for a half hour for a crunchy texture.

2 1/2 cups diced butternut squash
3 cups milk
8 oz aged cheddar, grated or cubed
2 Tbsp parmesan
2 cups dry macaroni or any short pasta

The sauce can easily be made in the time it takes to cook the macaroni.  While the pasta water is heating up place milk and diced squash in a saucepan at medium heat and cook until squash is tender.  Take off heat and puree with an immersion blender.  Remove 1/2 cup of the liquid and stir in 1 heaping Tbsp of flour.  Return the flour slurry to the pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook about 15 minutes to thicken.

Grate in some fresh nutmeg and add the cheese.  Cheese will melt into the sauce quickly, so just keep on low until macaroni is ready.  Season with S&P.

When pasta is cooked, combine with the sauce in a casserole dish.  Top with breadcrumbs and bake (350 F) until browned.

This is a super simple recipe and can easily be added to.  Next time I'll try adding kale or swiss chard.

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