Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

This is great comfort food and taking advantage of all the wonderful fall squash available.  I used these smaller Honeynut Squash but Butternut works great. I roasted the squash for extra flavor.

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Ingredients

1 lb pasta (I use trottole or ribbed elbow)
6 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 1/2 cups whole milk (I used skim)
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cayenne
dash of smoked paprika
Salt, to taste
4-6 cups grated cheese
(I use sharp white and gruyere, how much you use is up to how cheesy you like it)

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
3 cups roasted butternut squash (recipe below)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350˚F and butter a 2 quart baking dish.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the pasta to a al dente.

Meanwhile make roux by melting 4 tbsp of the butter in a dutch oven or heavy bottomed pan over medium low heat. When butter is melted, add flour and cook, whisking for about 2 minutes or until golden brown.

Slowly whisk in milk and mix until it is all incorporated. Switch to a wooden spoon and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly,until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Season with salt, pepper, cayenne and nutmeg. Remove from heat and add cheese. Stir until melted. Add pasta and roasted butternut squash, if using, and fold until well combined.

Add the macaroni and cheese to the buttered baking dish. Melt remaining butter and toss with the parmesan cheese and both breadcrumbs. Season with a pinch of salt. Add breadcrumb mixture to the top of the mac and cheese, sprinkle with paprika and bake for about 45 mins or until golden brown and bubbly.

I also made this without the roux and tossed the pasta with just 3 1/2 cups of cheese and the squash, added about a 1/4 cup of milk to the casserole, and topped with bread crumb mix. It was not as rich and gooey but better for the waistline.

Roasted Butternut Squash
3 cups butternut squash cubes (about 1 inch in size)
2 tbsp olive oil
}Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Add the butternut squash to a parchment lined baking sheet. Add olive oil and salt and pepper and toss to coat. Roast for about 25 – 30 minutes or until tender.

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Lower Guilt Baked Broccoli Pasta & Cheese

Lower Guilt Baked Broccoli Pasta & Cheese

 

IMG_3546.jpgThis is fairly low on the guilt level and I found it tastes even better warmed up! Comes together quickly. Great as a vegetarian main meal, side dish and a way to disguise broccoli – which is how my husband prefers it. Kid friendly comfort food. Inspired by Skinny Taste.

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Ingredients:

  • 12 oz elbow, shells or other twisty pasta (I used Trottole)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 1 cup fat free chicken broth (vegetarians use vegetable broth)
  • 2 cups reduced-fat sharp cheddar
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • 12 oz fresh broccoli
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • Smoked Paprika (optional)
  • cooking spray

Directions: 

Cook pasta and broccoli together in a large pot of salted water, according to package directions for al dente (or slightly under cook 2 minutes). Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 375°.

In a large, heavy skillet, melt butter. Add flour and cook another minute, or until the flour is golden and well combined. Add milk and broth and whisk, raising heat to medium-high until it comes to a boil; cook about 5 minutes or until the sauce becomes smooth and thick. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat a large pot of water, Cut broccoli into florets and using a steamer cook for just a few minutes, not quite cooked. The original recipe did not call for it to be cooked so you could add the broccoli uncooked.

Once the sauce is thick, remove from heat, add cheese and mix well until cheese is melted. Adjust salt and pepper to taste, add cooked pasta and broccoli, mix well. Pour into prepared baking dish. Top with grated cheese and breadcrumbs. Spray a little more cooking spray on top. Sprinkle with a bit of smoked paprika.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, then broil for a few minutes to get the breadcrumbs golden.

Roasted Butternut Squash Trottole & Cheese

Roasted Butternut Squash Trottole & Cheese

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This is a grown up Mac and cheese with wonderful flavors. I think kids would like it. Slightly sweet from the squash and onions it is Mac and cheese with hidden veggies. I got the idea for this recipe from The Olive Oil Store Blog but their version was pretty much a heart attack on a plate. I cut out the heavy cream (and 5 cups of cheese!). I also roasted the squash instead of boilingand added caramelized onions.

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Ingredients:

1 large Butternut Squash, cut into chunks
1 large sweet onion, sliced thin
4-5+ Tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
1 pound of Trottole (or macaroni)
1 1/2 Cups shredded Gruyere cheese (or white cheddar)
1 cup whole milk (I actually used 2%)
1/2 Cup all purpose flour
1/2 Cup bread crumbs
Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 400. Grease a large 2 Qt baking dish.

Cut up squash into bite size chunks and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle with at least 2 tablespoons (I never measure, just kind of drizzle it), and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast squash for about 20 minutes or until fork tender. After cooking lower the oven temperature to 375.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook pasta according to directions. Drain and set aside.

While the squash is roasting slice an onion into half and each half into thin slices. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large sauce pan and heat. Cook onions, stirring often, until golden and caramelized.

Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the onion mixture. Whisk in the flour and blend to create a roux. Slowly pour in the milk whisking constantly. Add the butternut squash and mix with an immersion blender (or use a mixer/food processor) until smooth. Add the cheese and stir until melted and creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

Add the cooked pasta to the sauce. Mix well and pour into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with bread crumbs.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top and bubbling.

Pasta al Carne di Sugo

beefsugo I LOVE this meal. Perfect for a cold winter night and easy to make. This is based on a recipe from Cafe Mingo, a restaurant in Portland Oregon.

Ingredients:

Serves 6-8 people 

  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 pound boneless chuck roast
  • 2 sweet onions, sliced thin
  • 1 bottle Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1 28 oz can diced, fire roasted tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 can beef broth
  • 1 pound pasta, homemade preferred
  • Parmesan rinds

pastaplated

Directions:

  1. Heat 2 Tb oil in large ovenproof pot (I used a La Creuset) over medium heat. Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper. Brown well so deep brown crust is on the exterior of meat. Remove meat and set aside.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil to pot and melt. Add onion and cook until soft, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes until golden brown.
  3. Return beef and any accumulated juices to pot. Add wine, tomatoes with juice, and beef broth. Cover and place in 400 degree oven. Check after 1-1/2 hours. You may need to add more liquid. You can use wine or broth.
  4. Add parmesan rinds.
  5. Braise beef until tender, about 3 hours total. Using 2 forks, shred beef. Return beef to pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Can keep warm in a crock pot at this point.
  6. Make pasta (or use store bought) and cook according to directions.
  7. Divide pasta among 6 shallow bowls, spoon meat sauce over, and serve with freshly grated parmesan.

Do ahead: Can be made 3 days ahead. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Rewarm before serving.