Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese


Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
Ingredients

  • 1 pound macaroni with lines, such as tubatini or mini penne rigate
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus a few sprigs for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 (10 ounce) box frozen cooked butter nut squash, defrosted
  • 1 cup cream or half-and-half
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) sharp Cheddar, grated
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a couple of handfuls
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, eyeball it
  • Black pepper

Preparation

  1. Heat a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Salt the water then add the pasta and cook to al dente or, with a bite to it.
  2. While pasta cooks, heat a medium heavy bottomed pot over medium heat.
  3. Add the extra-virgin olive oil and butter. When the butter melts into the oil, add the thyme and grate the onion directly into the pot with a hand held grater or Microplane.
  4. Cook the grated onion in butter and oil 1 to 2 minutes, then add flour and cook together 1 to 2 more minutes.
  5. Whisk in stock, then combine with butternut squash until warmed through and smooth.
  6. Stir in cream or half-and-half and bring sauce to a bubble.
  7. Stir in cheeses in a figure 8 motion and season the completed sauce with salt, nutmeg and pepper.
  8. Taste to adjust seasonings.
  9. Drain cooked pasta well and combine with sauce.
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