- 1 pound macaroni with lines, such as tubatini or mini penne rigate
- 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
- 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.
- While pasta cooks, heat a medium heavy bottomed pot over medium heat.
- 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.
- Cook the grated onion in butter and oil 1 to 2 minutes, then add flour and cook together 1 to 2 more minutes.
- Whisk in stock, then combine with butternut squash until warmed through and smooth.
- Stir in cream or half-and-half and bring sauce to a bubble.
- Stir in cheeses in a figure 8 motion and season the completed sauce with salt, nutmeg and pepper.
- Taste to adjust seasonings.
- Drain cooked pasta well and combine with sauce.