Friday, November 29, 2013

Roasted Butternut Squash Mac 'N Cheese

We had a lovely Thanksgiving yesterday. My daughter Katie outdid herself in every way, though there were a lot of contributors to the feast. Katie provided her own home-grown turkey (all 34 pounds of it!), pies, gravy, mashed and sweet potatoes. Her mother-in-law Penelope made the dressing. My son Jeff made a delicious smokey corn chowder. My contributions were a green bean casserole and a butternut squash mac 'n cheese (recipe follows). My daughter Meghan's boyfriend Mark made home-made baguettes - SO good! My daughter Tricia's mother-in-law Carol made her famous Snickers brownies and an apple crumb pie. Katie also made a layered sweet potato and apple bake (ala Cooks Country!). It was just a wonderful day all around, with a fantastic meal around their new table. Bill made this giant table from wood his father had saved for many years, and we sat 14 easily, with room to spare.  After dinner we were all groaning in satisfied pain for the feast we'd just enjoyed. I paced myself and was very aware of every bite, given the program Katie and I have been participating in for the last 11 weeks, but it was Thanksgiving so we gave ourselves permission to enjoy these holiday dishes. It was back to a whey protein shake this morning. It's all about balance!

Mark's beautiful bread!

34 pounder!

Pete peeking out from his "house!"
Henry, ready to take advantage of a white Thanksgiving!
Katie and Meghan setting a beautiful table
Tricia and Meggie

Anyway, the recipe is one I've adapted from many I've researched online, based largely on Ellie Krieger's great recipe I posted a few years ago. Here it is, with photos:

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH MAC 'N CHEESE
Serves a crowd!
Oven - 375 degrees F

Ingredients:
1 pound of your favorite pasta, cooked firm, and drained - set aside (I used ziti)
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 cups milk
4 cups grated cheeses (I used 3 cups New York State Extra Sharp, 1/4 shaved Parmesan, and 3 slices Cabot American cheese - that's what I had on hand)
1 wholes butternut squash, halved, peeled and seeded, and cut into 1-inch slices (or already cut-up in the produce section)
olive oil
salt and pepper
onion powder or garlic powder
1 cup plain breadcrumbs (I used Panko)
2 additional tablespoons melted butter

Butter a large casserole dish or deep baking pan.

Place squash slicees on parchment-lined cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle generously with salt, pepper, and onion powder or garlic powder. This provides most of the seasoning for the dish, so be generous. Bake for up to 40 minutes OR (important) till they begin to brown and are fork-tender.  Remove from oven and set aside.



In medium/large saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Reduce heat to low and add flour, stirring with wooden spoon, and cooking until flour begins to just brown and get toasty. This happens fast so watch carefully.




Gradually whisk in 4 cups milk, a cup at a time.  Return heat to medium and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens and bubbles, and coats a wooden spoon. Remove from heat.




In blender, puree squash in 2 batches, with a splash of milk to get it moving. Puree well to break down any fibers. Pour pureed squash over milk/flour mixture in pot.  Whisk together. Add cheeses and combine thoroughly.  Add drained pasta and coat thoroughly with sauce.








Dump pasta/sauce into buttered baking pan, making sure to get all the sauce. Spread to even out. Sprinkle top with bread crumbs. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper. Drizzle melted butter over bread crumbs.




Bake for 40 minutes or until top is golden brown and mac 'n cheese is bubbling.



That's it - enjoy!!!





18 comments:

  1. Jeanne sounds like you hand a blessed holiday ! the food sounded yummy . This recipe you posted sounds different I'll have to give it a try !I too had a very blessed day ! My son Ryan is an exceptionally good gourmet cook ! Unfortunately i had a 22lb turkey and a 10lb breast .No leftovers .17 people

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    1. Lucky you to have a son who's also a gourmet cook! Sounds like a great Thanksgiving, Sharron!

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  2. First of all, so glad you had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with amazing food and family! Everything everyone made sounds just fabulous. It's so nice when several people contribute to the meal :)
    And your mac n cheese sounds fabulous. Love it!

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    1. The mac 'n cheese was a hit - Russ finished it off for lunch yesterday! Hope you and Mike had a great Thanksgiving as well. Are you in your new home yet? Thanks Colleen!

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  3. Jeanne,
    As if you could improve on mac and cheese -- looks like this recipe does it. Can't wait to try! Glad your holiday went well -- I love Thanksgiving.

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    1. Andrea, you will LOVE this recipe! You can make a big batch and freeze portions for an easy dinner, anytime. Enjoy!

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  4. I will be trying your mac and cheese, it sounds delicious.

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    1. It really is delicious, Maureen! Thanks so much for your comment!

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  5. Sounds like an amazing holiday. Mac and cheese looks amazing. ...can't wait to try and make it

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    1. Hi Tracee - I think you and the kids will love this one! Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!!!

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  6. Is THIS where I comment to win the cookies? Because I WANT them!

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    1. It is, but make sure I know who you are - leave your name in your comment and a way I can reach you!

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    2. Oh Bet, it's you! Yes, you are in the running!

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  7. Sounds like a great Thanksgiving, Jeanne! And those baguettes did look amazing! We had a great Thanksgiving also and are so thankful for our son's wonderful wives and our healthy, beautiful grandchildren.

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    1. Yep, it was Deb. No matter what happens in our lives, Thanksgiving is a great time to stop and count our blessings, which are many. So glad you had a great Thanksgiving with your sons and babies!

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  8. Isn't cut-up butternut squash one of the greatest time savers? I bought halved ones to roast for my soup. I can never cut them in half evenly using a knife or a clever!

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    1. Yes, it is, and sometimes I can find it in the freezer section, but not often. It's a great thing to keep in the freezer. I love to make butternut squash soup with apple cider, too!

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  9. You lured me in with your blueberry crepes and now I'm pinning this and your pumpkin spice pancake recipe. Can't wait! Thanks for the inspiration!

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