06 December 2012

roasted butternut squash & spinach. macaroni & cheese.


6 December 2012

This was a little bit of an experiment, which incidentally turned out great. The sweet, rich, creaminess of the pureed butternut squash really compliments the taste of the comfort-food classic. I used a gluten-free pasta here, so this recipe is gluten-free, but if you have a favorite pasta, go for it...obviously this is just a template. I mean, that is what cooking & sharing recipes is all about.

There are really good gluten-free pastas out there now, that don't taste of mush or cardboard...I usually go for something made in Italy. As far as the cheese goes, you want to use a sharp cheese here to balance the sweet creaminess of the squash. If you prefer something blue & sharp, I say, go for it. I used cheddar to keep it simple.

Don't be frightened by the series of steps listed here. This is very basic & a cinch to put together. By the way, this is even better the day for left overs!

roasted butternut squash & spinach. macaroni & cheese.
serves 4
Adapted from Naturally Ella

for the squash:
1 butternut squash, peeled & diced
1 TBL extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt & cracked pepper
2 TBL veggie broth or water

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Add squash to a foil or parchment lined baking sheet & rub the oil & seasoning all over it. 
  2. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until there are little caramelized bits on the squash & it is tender when pierced with a fork.
  3. When it is done, let it cool a bit. Then in a food processor add squash & broth; puree until smooth. 
  4. You can make this step ahead of time.
for the pasta & spinach:
3/4- 1 lb. gluten-free rotini or penne or macaroni (or what ever looks fun)
2 big handfuls of spinach
  1. Cook al-dente, according to package directions.
  2. Right as you are about to take the pasta off the range, pop the spinanch in, then drain with the pasta.
for the roux: 
1 TBL olive oil
1 TBL cornstarch, white rice flour (or all-purpose flour)
1 cup whole milk, warmed
1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated 
sea salt & cracked pepper

  1. In a medium sized pot over medium heat, add oil, then the cornstarch. Whisk together for about a minute. Let it combine & thicken. Once little bubble start to appear, whisk in the milk. Continue to whisk & cook for another minute or so. 
  2. Add the cheese, squash & seasoning. Whisk together until the cheese is melted, it should get relatively thick. Cook another minute or so, taste & season if needed. Add pasta & spinach & thoroughly combine. Serve immediately. 

happy eatings & cheers!
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