Stovetop Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

It’s no secret I love Mac & Cheese. Doesn’t everyone?  It’s one of the most popular items on my catering company’s menu. While I adore a classic version that all about the cheese, I love that it’s such a versatile dish that can be adapted infinitely. This version makes use of  the abundant butternut squash that seems to be everywhere right now, which with its mildly sweet flavour compliments my cheese sauce perfectly. Best served immediately, but if you would like to make it ahead I won’t hold it against you. If you do that pour it into a greased baking dish sprinkle with bread crumbs tossed in a bit of olive oil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until to is brown and crunchy. Enjoy! Serves 6

1/2 butternut squash peeled, seeded and cubed

450 gr package of short pasta ( macaroni or your choice) follow package directions set aside

Place squash in medium sized pot and fill with water until just covered. Bring to a boil on medium heat then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until squash is fork tender. Drain well in colander. Transfer cooked squash to a bowl and mash until there are no lumps. If you want a smoother texture you could throw the squash into a blender with a bit of the cooking water to purée. Set aside

Cheese Sauce

4 cups milk

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup flour

2 cups grated cheese ( cheddar/ Monterey Jack / fontina) any sharp hard cheese will work

1/2 cup grated Grana Padano or Parmesan

1 tablespoon Dijon

1 teaspoon salt

Pinch pepper

Pinch nutmeg

In a medium sized saucepan melt butter on medium heat. When butter is melted and bubbling add in flour slowly and start to whisk to make a roux. Once the flour and butter have come together start adding in the milk gradually while whisking. Continue to whisk to get lumps out and to prevent bottom from burning. Once mixture starts to boil it should thicken. Remove from heat. Add cheeses, mustard, salt,pepper and nutmeg and combine. Add mashed squash to the cheese sauce and mix well until totally combined. At this point if your mixture has cooled down heat it back up and combine it with your cooked pasta. Serve with grated Reggiano or Grana Padano and serve. Enjoy!

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