Butternut Squash has become one of my latest food obsession. I love the sweetness of the squash and it is a great ingredient for the fall and winter. It is also a good source of fiber and vitamin A & C. Now that the weather is getting cooler, I am craving for more comfort food. I thought I would make a classic cheese sauce (Mornay) to make the ultimate mac and cheese. The twist is to add the butternut squash to make it extra special.
Roasted Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese (Serves 6-8)
2 cups of roasted butternut squash (2 small size butternut squash)
1 cup of small diced butternut squash (half of a small size squash)
5 tbsp of unsalted butter
4 tbsp of flour
2 cups of milk
1 cup of grated Gruyere cheese
1 1/4 cup of grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 pinch of nutmeg
2 sage leaves plus 1 tsp of chopped sage leave
1 lb of Cavatappi or Cellentani pasta (spiral shaped)
1 cup of panko breadcrumbs
Salt & pepper to taste
First preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the butternut squashes in half and scoop out the seeds, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt, pepper and roast for approximate 45 minute. They should be roasted until a fork is able to pierce through the flash easily. Set aside to let cool, once it's cool enough to handle, scoop out the squash and reserve to make the sauce.
Butternut Squash Mornay Sauce
Cook pasta in salted water. Since the pasta needs further cooking in the oven, under-cook the pasta for at least a few minutes according to cooking instruction, drain and set aside. Puree 2 cups of the roasted squash in the food processor and slowly add 2 cups of warm milk. Season and taste the puree. Keep the puree hot while work on the roux. Melt 4 tbsp of butter then whisk in four tbsp of flour. Whisk until the flour is cooked and the roux is still pale in color. Keep your eyes on it constantly as you don't want your roux to turn to a darker color. Slowly combine the puree to the roux and whisk until the liquid is well incorporated and thickened. Add the nutmeg and sage leaves, cook for another few minutes. Then incorporate the two cheeses and stir until they are melted. Before adding the pasta, take out the sage leaves then combine pasta with the sauce and mix well. Spray non-stick oil to a baking dish and add pasta to the pan.
Cruchy Butternut Squah and Panko Crust Topping
Saute and brown the diced butternut squash with the remaining 1 tbsp of butter until the squash starts to get crispy. Sprinkle with a tsp of chopped sage. Then combine the panko breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup of parmiaggio reggiano. Mix well and saute for another minute or so, taste then season with salt and pepper if necessary. When the breadcrumbs is toasted, sprinkle the topping on top of the mac and cheese. Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degrees oven for 25 minutes. Uncover then bake an additional 10 minutes and serve immediately.
I love the crunchy butternut squash mix in with the breadcrumbs. It creates a nice contrast to the creaminess of the pasta. This is not your regular mac and cheese and by adding the butternut squash, it gives this dish a different flavor profile. The sweetness of the squash really compliments well with the saltiness of the Gruyere and Parmigiano Reggiano. My husband, who is a traditionalist when it comes to his mac and cheese, was pleasantly surprised by how much he loves the butternut squash flavor. So give it a try, and let me know what you think.
Now what's this? An award for me, this is too much. I received this award from the delightful and talented Maya at the Foodiva's Kitchen. It is a fabulous award of recognition from my fellow food blogger. Maya's been posting some beautiful purple sweet potatoes recipes, love the purple color and you should check it out. Now that I was received this lovely award, I need to pass it on to fifteen other talented bloggers whose blogs I look forward to read on a regular basis. I hope you check them out because they are so deserving of this lovely award:
1) Kelly @ Tender is the Bite
2) Fiona @ Life on Nanchang Lu
3) Chef Dennis @ More than a Mount Full
4) Christo @ Chez What
5) Leila @ Barbarian Table
6) Ken @ Hungry Rabbit NYC
7) Angie @ Rice & Wheat
8) Anthony @ Flavorful World
9) Victoria @ Mission: Food
10) Ryan @ Cajun Chef Ryan
11) Tanantha @ I Just Love My Apron
12) Jan @ I Love. Therefore, I Cook
13) Therese @ Artissta
14) Carolyn @ All Day I Dream About Food
15) Dana @ Food For Thought