Butternut Mac n' Cheese
I found some parsley in the crisper, and thought it would be a nice addition to the topping for this mac n' cheese. You know...something green. Added to the bread crumbs, a little grated cheese, and a slight drizzle of olive oil, this topping helped make the dish special. And to my taste, deserved a moment in the spotlight.
Fusilli Pasta (is a great one to use)
Cheese (I used a blend of Gruyere and Toscano Black Pepper Cheeses, grating about half of each block)
1 Medium sized Butternut Squash
1 Medium sized Onion
Salt & Pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Aside from the topping, this mac n' cheese has four main components. Here's what you do:
Boil the pasta until it is slightly underdone. It will finish cooking in the oven.
Caramelize the onion in a sauté pan.
Halve the squash and scoop out the gook. Season each half with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Bake in a shallow baking dish (or pie pan, if it fits). When you can poke a fork through it easily, it's done. Remove from the oven, and mush it with the fork.
Prepare a Béchamel sauce by first melting three tablespoons of butter in the pan. Then combine three tablespoons flour (always equal parts flour and butter). Cook this until it forms a paste, stirring constantly so that it bubbles, but doesn’t brown. Then gradually whisk in 3/4 of the pint of cream (I let this sit out for a little while so that it doesn’t go into the pan cold). Allow the sauce to thicken and come to a gentle boil. Season with salt, pepper, and allspice to taste, and cook for two more minutes, still stirring. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese (reserving some for the topping).
Mix the four main components in the pasta pot, then transfer to a baking dish (it's way easier to mix everything together in the pot than the baking dish. You'll end up with a much cleaner counter. Trust me...I know).
Top with the topping, and cover with foil, leaving a little space between the topping and foil. You don't want to go to all the work of making a topping, only to peel it off with your foil (trust me, I know).
Bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes. If it is not yet as brown as you like, turn on the broiler. Check on it every minute or so until it's done. You definitely don't want to walk away and forget that the broiler is on. It will ruin your mac n' cheese, and put a big damper on your evening. Trust me. I know.