In my last post, I talked about how pumpkins and gourds are taking over everywhere. The same holds true for squashes (and since a pumpkin is a type of squash, I think it makes sense). I can’t go to the market without seeing tons of squashes on prominent display. I always end up buying one or two, so suffice it to say we’ve been eating a lot of squash around here. I needed to come up with a more creative use for squash, besides the typical roasted squash or squash soup.
My son asks for mac and cheese almost daily for dinner. I don’t make it too often, but I decided to try a twist on the dish by adding some roasted squash into the sauce. I figured it would maybe elevate the healthiness of the dish by a teeny tiny bit, and maybe even make it taste good in the process. I’ve added canned pumpkin puree to mac and cheese in the past, and the result was pretty tasty. Butternut squash has a slightly different flavor, so I didn’t think the recipe would be to redundant. If you think I’m a fraud for recycling recipes, though…maybe this blog isn’t for you.
First, roast the squash. I don’t even bother peeling it, since it’s so annoying to do. Just roast in the skin, and then scoop out the flesh and discard the skins.
Mash the squash. I used a potato masher.
While the squash is roasting, make a cheese sauce (this is mac and cheese, after all). I’ve shown so many pictures of this before, I decided to spare you today. Stir in about half of the mashed squash.
Mix together cooked pasta, the sauce, and the remainder of the squash. Top with some additional cheese, and bake.
- ½ of a medium-large butternut squash (cut lengthwise), seeds discarded.
- drizzle of olive oil
- ½ lb elbow macaroni
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 3 Tbsp flour
- 3 cups milk (I used 2%)
- pinch of nutmeg
- ½ cup shredded Swiss cheese (can substitute with an equal amount of Gruyere cheese)
- ½ cup shredded Gruyere cheese
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- salt to taste
- Heat the oven to 400F.
- Place the squash cut-side up on a baking sheet, and drizzle with a little olive oil (about ½-1 tsp). Place in the oven and bake for about 30-45 minutes until fork tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- Reduce the oven heat to 350F.
- Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the pasta, and cook according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside when done.
- While the water is boiling, place a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat. Add butter and melt.
- When butter is melted, whisk in the flour, and cook for an additional 15-30 seconds after it's completely incorporated.
- Slowly whisk in the milk so lumps do not form. Add a dash of salt and the nutmeg, and whisk often until the sauce thickens enough to coat a spoon.
- Turn the heat down to low, and stir in the Swiss and Gruyere cheeses.
- Scoop the flesh out of the cooled squash, and mash it using a fork or a potato masher. Stir half of the squash into the sauce.
- Add the pasta, sauce, and remaining squash to a baking dish (I used a 10x10in dish). Stir well to combine. Taste, and season with additional salt if needed.
- Top with the shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Cover with foil, and bake for 20 minutes. Then remove the foil, and bake for an additional 10 minutes.