Squash Mac-n-Cheese

Here is a recipe that I kind of moshed together after searching for delicious dishes to make with squash. Hope you enjoy! The measurements are guesstimated to my tastes.

Ingredients: makes 4-6 servings

  • 1 medium onion (I used a couple shallots in mine)
  • 200g pasta, ~1/2 pound (I used baby shells)
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 200g cheese, ~7oz or ~2c. shredded (I used Emmental/Swiss)
  • 2-3 tbsp butter
  • 2 heaping tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 cup milk (I used 1c. milk & 1/2c. cream)

Optional seasonings:
-1 tsp ginger & 1/2 tsp cumin (I tried these together with a little veggie stock seasoning)
-substituting vegetable stock instead of milk or cream
-substituting white wine instead of milk or cream
-thyme
-nutmeg
-salt & pepper (I added some pepper, but no salt because the veggie stock made it salty enough; it depends on your tastes, but I like to only add salt to the final product after cooking so you can taste the salt w/o overdoing it or creating a sodium overload)
-feel free to use any cheese you like; Feta, Gorgonzola, Cheddar, etc

To cook the squash, cut it in half, place it on a baking sheet, and cook it for ~45m at 200C/400F. When it has cooled, scoop out the flesh and blend it in a food mill or with a food processor. Alternative: use frozen or canned squash

Boil your pasta of choice following the box’s instruction. You can start the roux while the pasta is cooking. When the pasta is finished cooking, drain it and put it into your casserole dish. (I used ~9-10in circular dish)

Before you start the roux, caramelize the onions in butter. (If using shallots, cook until translucent. If you brown them, they may become bitter.) Then add the flour and cook for a minute or two. Next, slowly whisk in the milk, cream, stock, and/or wine about 1/2c. at a time. Make sure there are no lumps. Cook for about a minute or two; the sauce should be pretty thick now. Then, add the pureed squash, about 1/2 the shredded cheese, and any seasonings you want. (I ended up using about 2/3 of the pureed squash and saved the rest to use for making muffins.) Finally, mix the sauce with the pasta and sprinkle on the remaining cheese. Bake the dish for 25m covered (with lid or aluminum foil) at 200C/400F and then for an additional 10m with the cover removed, to brown the cheese.

Dig in!  Miam-miam!

This dish would take a long time if you did it all at once, so I baked my squash earlier that day. But, other than that, it is pretty simple and delicious. :)

If this is your first time making a roux, then I would probably start it after the pasta is done cooking or only caramelize the onions while the pasta is cooking, because you don’t want to burn the roux, and once you add the liquid it thickens up pretty fast. But, once you know how to make it, it is really simple (just butter, flour, and liquid) and incredibly useful in everything from making your own gravy to making a base for a gratin or a sauce to accompany meat (but I haven’t really done that one yet; maybe it is too French for me).

Bon appetit!

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