Friday, November 18, 2011

Broccoli-Basil Mac and Cheese

photo credit here

My finished product looked nothing like this, but it still tasted excellent.  Don't be bummed if your basil bread topping clumps up, too.  It won't look very pretty, but it will still be good.  We were fans.

1 small butternut, acorn, or other winter squash, peeled, seeded and cut into tiny chunks
olive oil
1 bunch of basil, stems removed
2 slices bread, stale or dried out in the oven
1/2 a small head of broccoli, roughly chopped
4 Tbsp sour cream
3 cups combination of grated cheeses, white cheddar and gruyere were the original suggestions - I used sharp cheddar and monteray jack
large handful of cherry tomatoes
3 cups dried macaroni elbows

Preheat your oven to 400F with a rack in the middle.  Put a large pot of water on to boil.

Place the squash on a large baking sheet, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden.

In the meantime, pulse half the basil, all the bread, the broccoli and lug of olive oil in a food processor until you've got a fine crumb.  It'll be a bit damp - that's ok.  Transfer to a small bowl and give the processor a rinse.

In a separate bowl, combine the sour cream and grated cheeses.

Place tomatoes in food processor with remaining basil.  Pulse a couple times to break things up, then add to the sour cream mixture and stir well.

Boil pasta in well-salted water for a bit less time than the package suggests.  Drain, reserving a big cup of the hot pasta water for later use.  Return the hot pasta to the pan and add cheese mixture.  Add squash and give it a good stir.  Add pasta water to thin the sauce to the consistency of cream.  It can be a bit runny as the pasta will soak it up in the oven.

Transfer everything to a large baking dish or casserole. Sprinkle the green breadcrumbs evenly across the top and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the topping is crunchy.  Remove from the oven, and wait 10 minutes before serving.

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