I obvi have a thing for Fall.
I get so into the Autumn mood and want to cook everything with seasonal flavors.
So here is an Autumn mac n cheese. It’s basically just butternut squash puree mixed into the roux, and is so mild that it mixes perfectly with the other ingredients.
On a side not, I have leftover bacon from making this recipe and I can’t tell you how excited I was this morning when I remembered that there was bacon in my fridge. I did a little happy dance in my kitchen.
Butternut Squash Mac N Cheese
(with bacon and crispy sage)
- 1/2 bunch of sage (.4-.5 oz), leaves picked from stems
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 medium butternut squash, seeded
- 4 oz mini penne pasta
- 2-3 slices thick-cut bacon
- 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3/4 cup Gruyere cheese (I used apple-smoked), grated
- 2 slices fresh bread, crust removed
- salt + pepper
Heat oven to 400F. Cover a small pan with aluminum foil.
Place squash skin-up on the pan and bake for 45-50 minutes. When that’s done, scrape the squash out into a bowl and mash or beat until smooth. Lower oven temperature to 375F.
While the squash is baking, warm the olive oil over med-high heat in a small frying pan. Throw several sage leaves in at a time, allowing to crisp for only about 5 seconds. Remove to a paper-towel covered plate to drain. Set aside.
In the same pan, cook your bacon until slightly crispy. Move to paper towels and set aside. Drain the bacon grease, leaving only about 1 Tbsp of it in the pan.
Place your bread slices and a few sage leaves into a food processor and pulse until your have uniform crumbs. Set aside.
Once the squash is cooked and ready, boil your pasta al dente. Drain and set aside.
Re-warm your bacon greased pan over medium and add the flour. Cook, stirring, until just light golden brown. Add milk and whisk until smooth. Reduce heat to low and season with salt and pepper. Simmer while still stirring until mixture is thick (1-2 minutes). Remove from heat.
Add the squash puree to the pan and combine, seasoning again with salt and pepper. Then add cheese and stir until smooth. Lastly mix in crumbled bacon and pasta.
Place the mac n cheese into an 8×8 pan, sprinkle breadcrumbs over top and bake for 30-35 minutes until the dish is bubbly and the breadcrumbs are toasted.