Mac & Cheese with Roasted Winter Squash
Classic comfort food--with the addition of a seasonal vegetable. Long-storing winter squash is cubed, roasted, and tossed into macaroni and cheese flavored with Italian sausage.
Long-storing winter squash are one of the ways that I feed my family from the farm share during the off season when we're not getting weekly boxes of fresh vegetables. For today's recipe I chose one of the squash that came from my compost pile. I'm thinking it's a cross between a butternut and a pumpkin or maybe it's an albino pumpkin like all the albino squirrels in my town. Who knows? Either way, it was a pale fleshed winter squash, part of the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve in my cold basement, and worked just as well as a pumpkin or butternut squash would in this recipe.
Mac & Cheese with Roasted Winter Squash1 winter squash (small pie pumpkin or butternut squash) halved, scooped, peeled & cubed (6 cups)
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper
⅓ pound (about 5-6 ounces) Italian sausage, cooked and drained
½ pound (8 ounces dry) elbow macaroni, cooked al dente according to package directions
½ pound (8 ounces) fontina cheese, cut into small cubes
½ pound (8 ounces) gruyere cheese, cut into small cubes
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
½ teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
½ Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
¼ teaspoon dried rubbed sage
1½ cups (12 ounces) heavy cream
freshly ground pepper and salt to serve at the table (I used pepper only)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl toss squash cubes with oil, then season with salt and pepper. Spread onto a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes, then stir around the sheet and return to the oven for another 15 minutes. Set aside.
[You can be cooking the noodles and sausage and . . . cubing . . . the cheese during this time.]
Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In the same large bowl (no need to wash) combine cooked sausage, cooked macaroni, cheeses and herbs. Toss with squash cubes. Pour cream over top and stir to combine. Transfer to a 3 quart casserole dish [I did not grease mine, thinking that the heavy cream, cheese and sausage was plenty, and it cleaned up fine.] Cover and bake for 45 minutes, then uncover and bake another 15 minutes until the top is browned and crispy in spots because that's the best part.
This is shared with What's Cookin' Wednesday.