Thursday, November 19, 2015

Mac N' Cheese with Butternut Squash


There's nothing like the intense flavor of summer vegetables - juicy, red tomatoes, crunchy, sweet Jersey corn and more ... but when autumn comes, I'm in love all over again with squash. This fall, I came back from Europe to a plethora of ripe butternut squash in the garden. 
They were used for roasting, for soups and before they were all gone, for this pasta dish that I saw on my friend Stacey's blog, originally from Cooking Light magazine.
If you've got vegetarians sharing the table at Thanksgiving, you could eliminate the bacon, and they'd never miss the turkey if you present this dish. The only problem is that the vegetarians will be fighting off the rest of the meat eaters who want a second helping of this mac n' cheese.
Instead of the traditional elbow macaroni, I wanted something a little more festive, so I used torcinelli, from an artisanal pasta maker, found at a local Italian grocery store.
The vegetables and the bacon were roasted together. I used another pan to roast the onions and mushrooms that were cut in half. Make the sauce while the pasta is cooking, then mix everything together, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese and pop it in the oven. 


To see more of what I'm cooking up everyday, pop on over to Ciao Chow Linda's Instagram feed:
https://www.instagram.com/ciaochowlinda/

Butternut Squash Mac N'Cheese

Serves 6-8

1 lb. Brussels sprouts, halved
1 red onion, sliced 
3 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/2 lb. mushrooms, halved
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut up into cubes
about six slices of bacon 
olive oil
kosher salt 
hot pepper flakes 
12 oz. pasta 
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 T. butter
fresh sage leaves for garnish, optional

Sauce:

1 cup milk
2 cups of chicken stock
2 tbsp butter
1 cup of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (or your favorite cheese)
small bunch of sage leaves, chopped

Using 2 baking sheets, lay out the squash cubes, the brussels sprouts and the bacon. 
Drizzle the veggies with olive oil and kosher salt.
Roast in a 425F oven for 20-25 minutes, until the bacon is crispy.
If the bacon is crispy before the vegetables are tender, remove from the pan first.

On another pan, lay out the red onion slices and the 3 large unpeeled garlic cloves and the halved mushrooms. Drizzle w/ some olive oil and place the in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. 

Crumble the bacon and set aside. 
Remove the garlic cloves to a cutting board and set aside.

Using an 8" x 10" casserole pan, lay out the sprouts and cooked squash.
Using a fork or potato masher, mash down on the squash cubes to create a puree or mash. I like to leave some texture so I didn't make it a really smooth puree.

Add in the cooked onions, mushrooms and bacon pieces. Mix the vegetables together in the baking dish.
While your pasta is boiling, make the cheese sauce.

Smash the roasted garlic cloves with the back of a knife to remove the skins. Cut the garlic into pieces.

In a heavy saucepan, add the milk, roasted garlic cloves, cheese, butter, sage leaves and chicken stock and bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer and whisk until it is a nice even consistency, only a few minutes. It won't be really thick, but don't worry, once it's in the casserole, the other ingredients will absorb the sauce and thicken it.

Season the sauce with a pinch of salt, black pepper and hot pepper flakes.

When the pasta is done, drain and add to the casserole pan with the vegetables. Mix together.

Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and vegetables and mix together.
Melt the 2 T. butter and mix in the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Sprinkle on top of the casserole.
Lower the oven temperature to 375F.

Place casserole back into the oven for 20 more minutes, until everything is blended and melted and bread crumbs are browned.
Garnish with sage leaves, if desired.

Bookmark and Share

13 comments:

Proud Italian Cook said...

That looks so good, I got to make that, pretty casserole dish too, and you are the best grower of squash!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

So scrumptious! This Mac & Cheese contains all the things I love.

Cheers,

Rosa

AdriBarr said...

This looks great, and it is perfect for me because these days I find that I am eating much less meat. Because of that I am always on the hunt for satisfying veggie dishes.

Stacey Snacks said...

We loved this dish......and so easy to cook the bacon w/ the veggies!
I love that you used your own squash. :)

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I've made this without the bacon and it's really very delicious for a meatless meal. I wish I could grow my own squash--it must be nice to have such a plentiful supply!



Claudia said...

I am going out now to rescue my sage from the coming frosts. This is a wonderful autumn meal - that will go on my dinner table this weekend.

domenicacooks said...

I just used that same pasta shape the other night (I can't remember the brand but they called it 'riccioli') to make pasta with red pepper pesto and olives. What beautiful butternut squashes from your garden. You have a green thumb, my friend.

janie said...

I was just thinking about making mac and cheese. I can't get enough of butternut squash and it seems like the perfect addition to the dish (not to mention the bacon!). Thank you for sharing this.

Paola said...

Looks incredible and a terrific main course for vegetarians senza bacon and carnivores alike. Roasting the vegetables along with the bacon must give an added boost of smokiness to the overall dish.

Marisa Franca @ Allourway said...

I'm with you -- I love butternut squash any time, any where!! I love the idea of putting the bacon on the sheet with the veggies. The veggies can absorb all of that wonderful bacon butter!! YUM!! I am making this ASAP! Great recipe and I hope I can find that adorable pasta! Buon fine settimana!

Chiara Giglio said...

lo confesso, non amo la zucca in nessuna delle sue forme ma la pasta della foto trovo sia deliziosa, la voglio trovare anche qui, buon fine settimana Linda !

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Butternut squash is my favorite! What a delightful recipe, Linda. A full meal in itself.

yung@foodyoo.com said...

Nice. Thinking to add more meat, maybe change to beef mince or increase the bacon. :)