Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Butternut squah mac and cheese

 Another healthy(ish) version of an unhealthy dish, I think that it fits right in the spirit of the holidays. Mac and cheese is such a comforting food, this recipe hit me in all the right spots, you can obviously make it vegetarian by omitting the bacon but let's be honest it's BACON!!!! and it balances out perfectly with the sweetness of the squash.

This is a wonderful recipe, the bechamel gives a creaminess that balances out the possible graininess of the squash, you have the delicious flavor of cheese, the bursts of bacon bits and the crispy bread topping, you could add a layer of cheese under the bread but I like mine in the sauce. I used my brand new Le Creuset cast iron French oven as dish, I could not resist the heart shape, it is so unique and lovely, and it is red (!!!) I simply had to have it!!!

Butternut squash mac and cheese
Recipe adapted from Two peas and their pod
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1/2 lb small pasta (I used small shells)
- 2 1/2 c milk, divided
- 2 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp AP flour
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 c cheddar, shredded (I used a mix, I have a preference to sharp or extra-sharp)
- 3/4 c breadcrumbs (I always use panko)
- 4 slices of thick cut bacon (optional)

- Preheat oven to 400F. Place butternut squash chunks on a large baking sheet. Drizzle oil over the squash and toss. Season well. Roast for 20-30 minutes or until tender, tossing once.
- Place bacon on a cooling rack placed baking sheet lined with aluminum paper, bake until cripsy, about 40 min. Chop to bits. 
- Cook pasta al dente according to package directions, drain well. Set aside.
- Add butternut squash to food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Add in 1/2 c of the milk and puree again
- In a large pot over medium heat, add the butter. When the butter is melted whisk in the flour. Add the nutmeg. Brown the roux, whisking constantly. Slowly add the remaining 2 c of milk and whisk until mixture is smooth. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil while continuing to whisk. 
- Add the cheese, turn heat to low and whisk in butternut squash mixture.
- Stir in the cooked pasta to the pan until well coated. Stir in the bacon crumbs. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
- Pour in an 8 inch square  dish,  sprinkle breadcrumbs on top.
- Place the pan in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until browned.


No comments:

Post a Comment