Mac, Squash and Cheese
2 tbsp olive oil, for roasting*
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed into ¼” to ½” pieces*
1 pound dried pasta of your choice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ white onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk at room temperature
2 cups grated, aged sharp cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
*Can be replaced by 2 (15oz) cans of butternut squash puree (or pumpkin puree)
Cook the squash either by roasting or steaming. If roasting, preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss cubed squash with olive oil and spread evenly across a baking sheet. Roast until tender and squash has begun to caramelize, 25 to 45 minutes. If making chickpea breadcrumb topping, can also add your chickpeas to the same baking sheet about halfway through, stirring again after 10 min. Cooking times will vary based on how large or small your squash cubes are cut. If steaming, heat large pot with ½” inch or so of water. Add squash to steaming basket and steam, covered, until tender, about 7-10 minutes. Squash is ready when it is tender enough to easily poke with a fork, but still firm enough to hold it’s shape.
Once squash is cooked, place into a food processor and puree until smooth. Set aside. (If using canned squash or pumpkin puree, omit the first two steps.) Cook pasta according to package instructions.
Meanwhile, in another pot over medium heat, melt butter then add onion, garlic, thyme, and a pinch of salt. Stirring occasionally, cook until onions are soft (about 5 minutes). Stir in flour, cooking for about 3 minutes. Then stir in milk and cook until sauce begins to thicken. Reduce heat to low and begin mixing handfuls of cheese into the milk, stirring in until the cheese is melted and the sauce is creamy. Stir in butternut squash puree.
Add in mustard, nutmeg, cayenne, and black pepper, stirring to combine. Adjust seasonings and add salt to taste. Add the cheese/butternut squash sauce to pasta until the macaroni is sufficiently coated. Heat until warm. Serve immediately while hot!
Serves about 6 tasting portions
1 can chickpeas
2 tbsps oil
Salt and pepper, any other desired seasonings
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Drain chickpeas and toss with oil and seasonings on sheet pan. Roast for about 20 min, stirring halfway through, until crispy.
Serve your chickpeas on top of your mac and cheese as a “breadcrumb” substitution, sprinkling some extra cheese on top if desired.