Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Hope your holidays are wonderful! We enjoyed several days in San Antonio with Luke's family and are excited to head out to Houston tomorrow to spend some time with mine. Twice the Christmas = twice the fun! In the between time, Luke's brother Travis came to spend a few days with us (he hadn't seen our house yet!). Since we'd be driving back on Christmas day after having been out of town, I wanted to be able to make a tasty meal that wouldn't require a trip to the store. This mac and cheese was born, and it was SO good. 

Paired it with a simple salad starring kale from our garden for a fresh side. Recipe to come :)

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

3 cups peeled butternut squash, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
12 ounces whole wheat elbow macaroni
2 ounces pancetta, diced (optional)
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
4 cups milk (I used 1%) at room temperature
4-5 cups sharp white cheddar cheese, freshly grated
3 ounces cream cheese (optional - I was cleaning out my cheese drawer!)
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly grated
1/2 cup panko 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread butternut squash on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast 30 minutes, stirring once or twice, until cooked through. Set aside. Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 pan and set aside.

Meanwhile, Place a large pot of water to boil and cook pasta to al dente. Drain and set aside.

Next, if including pancetta, crisp it up in a skillet, then remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate.

In a large sauce pan, melt butter on medium heat. Whisk in flour and let cook about a minute, stirring constantly. Whisk in milk and let cook until thickened, stirring often, about 10-12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir in cheddar and cream cheese, if using.

In a large bowl, combine butternut squash, pasta, pancetta and milk/cheese mixture. Stir well. Pour into 9 x 13 pan. In a small bowl combine panko and Parmigiano Reggiano. Sprinkle evenly over mac and cheese, then bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Let it rest 5-10 minutes before digging in (if you can!).

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