Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Macaroni and Cheese with Winter Squash

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 pound large or medium shells
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 teaspoon ground thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 8 ounces sharp Cheddar
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


    1. Slice the squash in half.  Scoop out and discard the seeds.  Place the squash in a baking pan and roast at 375 degrees for 45 minutes, or until tender. Set aside to cool.
    2. Start the water for the pasta; when it reaches a boil, add the shells and cook according to package directions.  Drain and set aside until the sauce is ready.
    3. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter and olive oil in a large skillet.
    4. Grate the onion in a food processor, and add the grated onion and thyme to the melted butter,
    5. Saute for 2 minutes, then add the flour and sauté for another 2 minutes
    6. Add the broth to the skillet, and bring to a boil, stirring until smooth.  Turn heat down to low.
    7. Scoop the squash out of the skin and puree in the food processor until smooth.
    8. Add 1 cup of skim milk to the squash puree and process until blended.
    9. Add the squash/milk mixture to the thickened stock and stir until thoroughly blended.
    10. Add the cheese to the sauce and stir until dissolved.
    11. Season with nutmeg, and add additional pepper if needed.
    12. Keep the sauce warm on low until the pasta is cooked.
    13. Combine the sauce and shells, and serve.

    I top each serving with a hearty portion of greens, such as swiss chard, sautéed in garlic and olive oil.

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