Wednesday, October 03, 2012

A Cheesy Idea for Squash Season

My roommate bought some turkey thighs this past weekend, and I was searching for ideas for side dishes to go with them. Someone on Yahoo! Answers posted this wonderful-sounding Rachael Ray recipe for a macaroni and cheese that involves butternut squash. I didn't end up making it that same night, but I saved the recipe, and we had it tonight with some grilled smoked sausage and green peas. YUM! Since it is the winter squash season, after all, it would be best if you roasted a butternut squash yourself, as they are plentiful and so tasty. But in a pinch, you can use a box of frozen as RR dictates.

Also, I think this would be a great recipe for kids or anyone that resists eating their vegetables, as they would never recognize the "secret" ingredient! The only changes I made were to add a cup of grated cheddar to the sauce, and to add an extra cup of cheese on top. And I didn't broil it--I just baked it at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes until the cheese completely melted. Oh, and I forgot to add chopped fresh parsley to the top. That would have been pretty against the bright orange of the casserole and so very autumnal. Oh time.

Harvest Moon Macaroni and Cheese
(Source: Rachael Ray, Food Network)

1 pound macaroni (I used a carrot and squash penne from Barilla)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 cups whole milk
salt and freshly ground black pepper
nutmeg, grated to taste
1 (10-ounce) box frozen butternut squash, defrosted
a few dashes of hot sauce
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (I used Romano)
1 cup extra-sharp yellow cheddar (up to three cups, divided)
a handful fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sweet paprika

Bring water to a boil, season with salt and cook macaroni to al dente. Preheat broiler and place rack in middle of the oven. Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a sauce pot over medium heat, saute onions and garlic until soft, 6 to 7 minutes and stir in the thyme. Scoot onions off to side of pan and melt butter, whisk flour into butter and combine whisk 1 minute then whisk in stock and milk, season sauce with salt, pepper and nutmeg, and cook until thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in butternut squash and a few dashes hot sauce. Reduce heat. When sauce comes to a bubble, stir in Parmigiano.

Combine the sauce and macaroni, transfer to a casserole dish and top with shredded yellow cheddar, chopped parsley and paprika. Brown the macaroni under broiler, 4 to 5 minutes until brown and bubbly.

No comments: