Friday, October 1, 2010

Harvest Mac and Cheese

I have to make a few dishes with hidden veggies to get my family to eat them. One big one is hiding squash from Brian .... sadly he is starting to catch on, but for the first time EVER I saw him eat squash. This is probably a little fatty, almost in a Paula Deen kind of way, but so yummy.

1/2 medium size butternut squash, peeled and in 1" cubes
1 lb of shortcut pasta (I love gemelli, small shells or radiatori)
1/2 lb thick sliced bacon
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 TBSP flour
2 c. milk
2 c. cheese ( I liked a mix of cheddar, pepper jack, and something funky like blue or Gorgonzola)
pinch nutmeg, cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat broiler to low. 

Fill a large pasta pot with water and add squash cubes. Bring to a boil, and cook for 5 minutes. Add pasta and cook 7-9 minutes based on package directions. Drain and set aside in colander.

Keep bacon together and cut into 1/2" pieces across the stack of slices. Cook bacon in skillet until crispy, use a metal slotted spoon to remove the pieces and put into the empty/dry pasta pot.

Add the onions to the hot bacon grease and cook until brown and crispy. Use the slotted spoon, and move onions to the pasta pot with the bacon. Discard the bacon grease, carefully wipe the skillet with a paper towel, and add 2 TBSP of butter. Once the butter is melted, sprinkle flour and whisk together to form a roux. Once butter and flour have turned to a lightly browned paste, add the milk, nutmeg, cumin and a dash of salt and pepper. Wisk frequently, and as soon as the milk mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat to low.

Add cheeses, stirring until melted and mixed together, and taste the mixture so that you can adjust salt and pepper. Because of the bacon and cheese, it will already have a good amount of salt.

Add pasta back to the pot with the onions and bacon, then pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and mix until its well blended.

Butter a 9"x13" baking dish, and pour the cheesy pasta in.

Mix breadcrumbs and butter together to form a crumb topping. Sprinkle across the top of the pasta.

Put under the broiler for a few minutes (watching closely) until the top is golden brown.

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