Monday, October 10, 2011

Butternut squash macaroni and cheese


My current squash count stands at 2 butternut squash, 8 (yes, 8!) delicata squash, and a kabocha squash (all of it from the farm share, except for the kabocha which I bought months ago). Thank goodness for the internet, because without the inspiration, I would probably be eating roasted squash until the end of time! Not that there's anything wrong with roasted squash, but a little variety is nice, right? I was browsing for squash recipes and kept coming across macaroni and cheese recipes that added butternut squash to the cheese sauce, which sounded brilliant to me! However, I am lazy and did not feel like actually making bechamel sauce (nor did I have enough cheese)....In the end, I kind of winged it, and it turned out wonderfully! So, onwards...


The first thing to do, of course, is to get yourself a butternut squash. Mine was on the small side, probably about a pound total. Cut it in half (be careful! Squash are hard and roll around. You can stabilize it a bit by wrapping a dishtowel around the base.) and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil (you really don't need much) and place, cut side down, on a lined baking sheet. Roast in a 375 F oven until the squash is soft; mine took about an hour. Let it cool until you can handle it without burning yourself, then scoop the flesh out into a food processor (or a blender). Isn't that a cheerful color?

Squash puree

For the amount of squash I had, I added about half a cup of milk and blended until smooth. Adjust as you see fit in terms of thickness, but remember that you're going to be adding cheese which will thicken it a bit more! Give it a taste; if you're like me, you might consider just eating the puree as is with a spoon. It's so yummy! Nice and sweet. (I guess if you thin it out more and add some ginger and curry, it would be a good soup. Hmm!)


Anyway if you've managed not to eat all of your puree, pour it into a heavy saucepan and heat on low heat until it starts to simmer. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper, a bit of freshly grated nutmeg, and salt and black pepper to taste. (Or whatever seasoning you would put in your regular mac and cheese recipe.) Stir in shredded cheddar cheese; I used about 4 ounces of extra sharp cheddar. Stir over low heat until melted. Pour over cooked pasta; this made enough sauce for about half a box of pasta.

Butternut squash mac & Cheese

If you like the baked kind of mac and cheese, by all means, pour this into a dish, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake. Otherwise, just eat and enjoy! I may never go back to the regular mac and cheese. Which is fortunate, because I've still got a whole bagful of squash, with more expected on Tuesday....


jenn from midlife modern said...

Hi there! Loving your blog (and REALLY loving the title too). Wanted to let you know I included this recipe in my weekly Blogger Potluck post yesterday. If you're interested in checking it out, you can find it at One Facebook buddy admitted that she was running out the store right away to make this dish for dinner!

tofugirl said...

Hi there! Thanks for including me in your roundup! I love this recipe, so I'm glad to see other people are also enjoying it :D

Kat said...

I am a devoted - nay, a FANATIC - fan of the blue box macaroni and cheese, but I swear that I may never go back to it based on this recipe, which I am eating right now. Absolutely amazing! I almost wish I had kids to make this for, but I'm perfectly happy to keep it all to myself!

tofugirl said...

Kat, I feel the same way--I have an embarrassing love of the boxed mac & cheese but I'm pretty sure this is going to replace that from now on (I made some extra sauce and stuck it in the freezer and can report that it freezes very nicely!)