Monday, November 21, 2011

Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese

I’m really excited to have partnered with Melissa of the beautiful blog Rooms to share this recipe. She’s created a new series called Great FOOD and a Beautiful ROOM on her site, and I was so honored when she asked me to contribute a recipe for this feature! Here’s how it worked: I supplied the recipe, and she created a “recipe” for a room to go with the food. Sounds cool, right?

I chose this butternut squash macaroni and cheese to share because its color is so warm and its flavor is so inviting. My family loves butternut squash, so I’ve been cooking with it a lot this fall, and I made this specifically with my boys in mind. Macaroni and cheese is one of their favorite foods, so why not bump up the nutritional value with some delicious butternut squash puree? This was a huge hit with them. (And even if your kids don’t like butternut squash, you can totally hide it from him. It’s exactly the same color as plain old macaroni and cheese!)

If you’re looking for an interesting dish to add to your Thanksgiving table, I think this one would be perfect. And wait until you see the room that Melissa created to go with this recipe. Go check it out. It’s gorgeous and I want to live there! Thanks for such a fun opportunity, Melissa!

Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese

1 butternut squash
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound macaroni pasta
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise, remove seeds, and place face-down in a large roasting pan. Add about 1 inch of water. Cook for 40 to 50 minutes, or until squash is tender. Don’t turn off the oven.

2. While the squash is still warm, remove from peel and place in a blender. Add cream cheese and puree until mixture is smooth.

3. Cook pasta to al dente according to directions on package in boiling salted water; drain.

4. Meanwhile, heat milk in a large saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Stir in butternut squash/cream cheese mixture and shredded cheddar. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.

5. Add cheese sauce to pasta. Pour into a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish.

6. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, sage, and thyme leaves; stir in butter. Sprinkle evenly over macaroni and cheese.

7. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until breadcrumb topping is browned. Serve immediately.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

I have a pumpkin mac and cheese on the menu, but now I'm wanting to change to this version! Heading over to check out the room!!