Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Butternut Squash Mac-N-Cheese

Here's one of our recent meatless Monday meals that went over pretty well.  I broke a pretty basic rule and didn't read through the entire recipe before starting to cook. . . This makes two 8x8 pans, so I ended up freezing one and it thawed well later on.  I pureed the entire butternut squash and didn't need that much.  

500 g egg noodles
½ sweet onion, such as Vidalia, diced
¼ cup butter, softened
3 Tablespoons flour
3 cups whole milk
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/3 cups butternut squash puree (method below)
2 cups grated cheese (I used a combination of cheddar, Parmesan, and Emmental)
Salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup Panko or plain breadcrumbs
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, not powdered
2 Tablespoons unsweetened coconut, shredded
For the egg noodles:
  1. Bring a large, heavy-bottomed pot of water to a boil; salt generously.
  2. Add pasta, stir well, and cook one minute less than indicated on the package.
  3. Drain into a colander.
For the sauce:
  1. In the same pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, stir to coat and cook gently for about five minutes.
  2. Sprinkle flour over the onions and stir well. Slowly add milk, whisking well. Cook for a few minutes, stirring often until mixture thickens slightly and floury taste is gone.
  3. Add squash puree and mix well. Add cheese, a few handfuls at a time, stirring continually.
  4. Once all the cheese has been added and melted, stir in Dijon, and season sauce with salt and pepper.
For the topping:
  1. Combine Panko, Parmesan and breadcrumbs in a bowl.
To assemble:
  1. Combine cheese sauce and cooked egg noodles together until noodles are well coated.
  2. Divide between two buttered 8-inch square pans or casseroles.
  3. Top with Panko topping.
  4. Bake at 375F for about 20 minutes or until bubbly around the edges. Serve at once.

To Freeze:

  • Prepare the butternut squash gratin recipe in full, but stopping just before baking.
  • Wrap entire pans tightly in plastic wrap, mark with the date, and flash freeze.
  • To reheat, remove wrapping and place in a 350F oven. Bake until heated through and bubbly around the edges.

Squash puree

  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 2 pounds)
  1. Wash and peel squash; trim ends. With a sharp chef’s knife, cut bottom third off of the squash, then halve that and scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Chop the entire squash into roughly 1-½ inch pieces.
  2. Place squash in a medium pot and fill with cold water. Add a ½ teaspoon of salt and place over high heat. Cover pot, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender; about 10 minutes.
  3. Drain, return the squash to the pot and mash with a potato masher or whirl with an immersion blender.
Puree can be made up to one day in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container.

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