Roasted Butternut Squash
Left: Onions cooking in butter for roux; Right: Pasta
Growing up one of our favorite dinners was boxed Kraft Deluxe Macaroni and Cheese. For a special treat my mom would mix in some sour cream and/or cream cheese, sprinkle the top with real cheese, and bake it in the oven. I don't think I even knew what a calorie was. I just knew that it was delicious.
Nowadays I still love macaroni and cheese and really appreciate a good baked pasta dish. It's nice to be able to prepare dinner ahead of time and pop it in the oven 20 minutes before serving. This pasta dish goes lighter on the cream and cheese but tastes rich and sophisticated due to the addition of white wine, roasted garlic, nutmeg, sage and thyme. I used whole milk because it's what we always have in the house. Feel free to substitute 2% or skim (if you must!)
Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese
One 2-3 lb. Butternut Squash
3 cloves garlic
1/2 white or yellow onion, diced
1 lb. pasta
About 1 tsp. ea. dried Sage, Thyme & Nutmeg
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup white wine (you can substitute chicken stock)
1 1/2-2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese
Breadcrumbs & grated Parmesan cheese (for topping)
Preheat oven to 375. Peel squash and scoop out seeds. Cut squash into 1 in. pieces, toss in olive oil and salt and roast on a sheet pan for 20 minutes or until caramelized. Place 3 cloves of garlic (unpeeled) on sheet pan to roast alongside squash.
Boil pasta according to directions, erring on the side of very al dente. Set aside. In a heavy bottomed skillet/pot add 2 tbsp butter. Add roasted garlic (squeeze out of skin and mash or mince) and onion, sauteeing until translucent. Add flour and let cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add spices and 1/2 cup of white wine, stirring roux. Add milk slowly, whisking constantly to create a bechamel. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Thin with leftover wine if desired and season to taste with S&P.
In a large bowl toss pasta and roasted squash with your bechamel. Pour mixture into a buttered dish. Top with breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese, dot with butter if desired. Bake in a 375 oven for 20 minutes or until bubbly and browned.