Wow, it’s been busy! You can probably tell from my lack of posts. Most recently, I was happy to share my travel to the finish line as I ran the NYC Marathon. The story is a long one, and I was fortunate enough to share it on a feature for HellaWella, called, “My first marathon: An amateur’s journey to the finish line”. Read the full story here.
But on to the good stuff… since I was able to carb-o-load, I took advantage. And in the week(s) after the marathon, I was still happy to let go and enjoy the benefits of running 26.2 miles, by eating whatever I want. Among those meals was my favorite indulgence: mac and cheese!
In the fall it seems that a million recipes pop up for butternut squash mac and cheese. But since I consider myself a “mac and cheese maven” I figured it was finally time to form my own recipe. I received a butternut squash in my CSA this week, so it was time to put my skills to the test.
As always, a good macaroni in extra cheesy. I used 3 types of cheese, so this definitely delivered, but the added sweetness from the squash made it really unique. It was the perfect comfort food for fall and into the winter months when you need a meal that warms your insides.
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- 1 butternut squash
- 1 Tbs. oil
- 1 lb. pasta I prefer shells
- 4 Tbs. butter
- 1/3 c. flour
- 1 c. milk
- 1 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1 c. cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 c. parmesan cheese
- 1/2 c. mozzarella cheese shredded
- 1/2 c. bread crumbs I prefer Panko
Cook Squash: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut off stem of the squash and slice vertically. Hollow out the seeds with a spoon and discard. Rub the inside of the squash with some olive oil, just until coated, and season with salt and pepper. Place face up on a cookie sheet and bake for 45 minutes or until fork tender.
Cook Pasta: Meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente in salted water.
Prepare Cheese Sauce: melt butter in a pan on low heat. Once melted, whisk in flour to form a roux. Whisk in milk a little at a time, stirring constantly. Allow the sauce to thicken over low heat, continuously stirring. (Be careful not to boil.)
Once all the milk is incorporated, remove from heat. Add nutmeg, salt, pepper, cheddar cheese, and half of the parmesan cheese. Stir until cheese is melted.
When squash is cooked through, allow to cool until you can handle (or use oven mitts). Scrape out the inside of the squash into a bowl or pot. Add half of the cheese sauce and stir well.
Add the drained pasta to your squash-cheese mixture. Stir until all pasta is covered in sauce and add to a greased baking dish.
Pour remaining cheese sauce over the pasta. Top with remaining parmesan, mozzarella, and finish with breadcrumbs.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until breadcrumbs just begins to brown.