The leaves are half way gone, the pastel blue skies give way to Botticelli-esque clouds, my yellow rain boots permanently affixed to my feet. Like Venus emerging from a dreary day, I bring you a petit pot of Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese. It's a modified Martha Stewart recipe. The woman knows everything.
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
(adapted from this Martha Stewart Recipe)
serves 6-8 people
1 large butternut squash, split in half and seeded
1 lb elbow macaroni
1 1/2 c vegetable stock
1 c milk
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 c cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 c ricotta cheese
1/2 c parmesan cheese, shredded
1/2 c bread crumbs
sprigs of thyme, for garnish
Bake squash, on a sheet of parchment at 400 degrees for about one hour, until soft. Scoop out squash flesh and set aside. Decrease oven temperature to 375 degrees. Grease a large casserole dish or several small bowls (at least 6 dessert bowls). Boil water and cook pasta until al dente, about 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large pot place stock, milk, squash and spices on a medium simmer. Cook for about 5 minutes. Then, with an immersion blender (or use your cuisinart), blend until pretty smooth, with a few lumps of squash intact if you like (I like.)
Place all cheeses, except a little Parmesan (save in a bowl for topping) in a large mixing bowl, stir to combine. Pour the stock/squash mixture into this bowl and stir. Cheese will melt and become gooey and delicious smelling. When pasta is done, throw back into the large pot and pour in cheese/squash mixture. Finally pour this into small bowls or one large casserole pan. Sprinkle on breadcrumbs and remainder of Parmesan cheese. Cover in tin foil and cook for 20 minutes. Remove foil and cook 10-15 minutes more, until the top layer looks crusty. Broil for the final 1-2 minutes.
Garnish with fresh thyme leaves and loads of salt and pepper.