Traveling hindered me from posting a gluttonous recipe last week, but we’re back on schedule this week with a healthier alternative of that old favorite Mac & Cheese. As with any mac & cheese recipe this one couldn’t be simpler: prepare a few items, toss em all in a pot, and stir. However, it’s the subtle nuances of herbs, the slight amount of heat from cayenne, and the combination of Montegrappa cheese* and roasted butternut squash that sets this mac & cheese recipe apart anything out of a box.
Of course any mac & cheese recipe can be easily adjusted to the ingredients available to you, but subbing in a different cheese, type of pasta, and/or the use of crème fraiche just wouldn’t be any fun…now would it?
*As always many thanks to my local cheese guru Andy Fitzgerrell for his recommendation of the Montegrappa cheese, an aged cow’s milk cheese from Italy. Not surprisingly the cheese was outstanding on its own and in the dish.
- 1 1/2 cup of butternut squash (around one squash)
- 8 0z Cavatappi or your preferred pasta
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 cup of milk
- 1/2 tsp mustard powder
- 1/8-1/4 tsp of nutmeg
- Pinch of cayenne
- 1 tsp fresh sage
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary
- 4-6 oz of Montegrappa or your preferred cheese
- 1 tbsp creme fraiche
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Slice your butternut squash in half, clean out any leftover guts, place on a cookie sheet and then in the oven. Cook until the squash passes the soft poke test with a fork and is slightly browned. Set aside and allow to cool.
- Shred up 4 oz of the Montegrappa cheese for the wary or 6 oz for the bold.
- Finely dice (or something like that) your fresh herbs.
- Scoop the squash out of its shell into a bowl. Using a immersion blender or food processor, puree the squash.
- In a pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until slightly under cooked.
- Toss the butter and flour into a large pot over medium heat. Whisk the ingredients until combined.
- Stir in the milk, then add the herbs and spices.
- Stir in the cheese and creme fraiche until thoroughly mixed.
- Stir in the pureed squash to make one orangish cheesy gooey mixture.
- Time for the pasta, so toss em in.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Forgoing the rosemary garnish, plate, serve, and enjoy a second helping.
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