Butternut Squash Macaroni & Cheese

Prepared by Fran Scibelli
Fran's Filling Station

1 pound cavatappi pasta, cooked al dente

5 tablespoons butter

5 tablespoons all purpose flour

¼ cup minced shallot

5-6  cups milk

1 12 ounce can organic butternut squash puree

1 T. dry mustard

1t. each onion powder and granulated garlic

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

2-3 drops hot sauce (for acidity, not heat)

3 T. maple syrup

6 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, grated

6 ounces Comte or Swiss cheese, grated

6 ounces aged gouda cheese, grated

Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

3 cups roasted butternut squash, diced*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare 9 x 13 baking dish by buttering bottom and sides generously.

In a medium saucepan over low heat melt the butter and add the shallots.  Cook for 3-4 minutes, then whisk in the flour to make a paste and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until smooth.  This cooking time also eliminates any floury taste in the finished product. Add 3 cups of the milk and continuously stir.  When the mixture begins to thicken, add the remaining milk and stir until it is lump free.  Whisk in the butternut squash pure, spices maple syrup and hot sauce.  Cook the mixture for 5-8 minutes on low heat continuously stirring; the mix should generously coat the back of a spoon (if the mixture seems too thick, add a little more milk to achieve desired consistency).

Fold in the cheeses off the heat and season to taste.  In a large bowl, combine macaroni, cheese sauce and diced squash.  Place in baking dish.  If desired, top with buttered, seasoned bread crumbs, extra cheese or granola topping* and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

Mix together cooked macaroni, squash and cheese sauce, portion into individual oven safe dishes and lightly sprinkle with bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.  Bake until golden brown.

*Roasted butternut squash

1 box pre-diced butternut squash (widely available in grocery stores)

1/3 cup blended canola/olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Well spray baking sheet with pan spray.  Mix squash well with oil, salt and pepper.  Place on baking sheet and cook for about 15 minutes or until squash is tender and caramel brown.

*Granola Topping

Combine 3 cups of your favorite granola with 2 cups bread crumbs, preferably Japanese bread crumbs (panko), a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice, a sprinkle of dried sage, salt & pepper and melted butter until the mix is moist and well-seasoned.  Sprinkle generously over top of mac and cheese and bake as directed.