Saturday, January 22, 2011

January 22: Boo's Butternut Squash Mac-n-Cheese

   Coarse salt
1 pound macaroni with ridges, such as tubettini or mini penne rigate
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 medium onion
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock or broth
1 10-ounce box frozen cooked butternut squash, defrosted; or 1 small butternut squash, cooked and pureed
1 cup cream or half-and-half
2 cups (8 ounces) grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
   Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Salt the water, then add the pasta and cook al dente (with a bite to it.)

While the pasta cooks, heat a medium heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the EVOO 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 onions for a minute or 2, then add the flour and cook together for a minute or 2 more.

Whisk in the stock, then add the butternut squash and cook until warmed through and smooth.

Stir in the cream and bring the sauce to a bubble.

Stir in the cheeses in a figure-eight motion and season the completed sauce with salt, nutmeg, and pepper. Taste to adjust seasonings.

Drain the cooked pasta well and combine with the sauce.

Serve alongside chicken sammies or all on its own with a green salad. (Boo would also have a little extra sprinkle of that cheese, please!)


This is a delicious meal and we look forward to it every year. It makes a lot, so we are going to serve it to our guests tomorrow as a side dish to the chicken patties.

I used dried thyme again for the fresh. The other change I made was to add fresh squash to the ingredient list. I know this makes it take significantly longer than 30 minutes, but I can never find frozen squash in the store. I think the fresh cooked squash is probably much tastier too.

RR says: "I know it sounds odd, but my girl [her dog, Boo] LOVED butternut squash! This dog might even go for it before a steak, especially if there were also pasta and cheese involved in the deal."

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