Butternut squash mac and cheese sounds like it might not be too delicious, but trust me, It is AMAZINGLY GOOD! Also, it is super simple to make! I usually have all of the ingredients home aside from the frozen butternut squash, and if I really felt like it, I could stock up so I can make it whenever the whim hits me! It’s a great cozy dinner on a rainy night or a chilly one….although I’d say its probably good on a sunny spring night too!
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese (from Rachel Ray)
1 pound macaroni with lines, such as tubatini or mini penne rigate
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 medium onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus a few sprigs for garnish
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock
1 (10 ounce) box frozen cooked butter nut squash, defrosted
1 cup cream or half-and-half (I get the low fat kind or just use skim milk if in a pinch)
2 cups (8 ounces) sharp Cheddar, grated (again, I get the low fat kind)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a couple of handfuls
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, eyeball it
Heat a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Salt the water then add the pasta and cook to al dente or, with a bite to it.
While pasta cooks, heat a medium heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the extra-virgin olive oil and butter. When the butter melts into the oil, add the thyme and grate the onion directly into the pot with a hand held grater or Microplane. Cook the grated onion in butter and oil 1 to 2 minutes, then add flour and cook together 1 to 2 more minutes. Whisk in stock, then combine with butternut squash until warmed through and smooth. Stir in cream or half-and-half and bring sauce to a bubble. Stir in cheeses in a figure 8 motion and season the completed sauce with salt, nutmeg and pepper. Taste to adjust seasonings.
Drain cooked pasta well and combine with sauce. Top with a little extra parm cheese, YUMMY!