Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese
- 1/2 medium butternut squash, cooked, pureed, strained
- 1/2 pound elbow macaroni OR your favorite pasta
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 small leek or onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 chili pepper, finely chopped (optional)
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 2 cups shredded cheese (whatever you have on hand, cheddar, mozza, gouda, etc)
- 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablepsoon melted butter
Cook macaroni according to package directions, drain well. Set aside. In a medium saucepot over medium heat, add the butter. When the butter is melted add onion or leek, garlic, and chili pepper (if using). Saute lightly until soft and fragrant, then whisk in the flour. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add 2 cups of milk and whisk until mixture is smooth. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil while continuing to whisk. After sauce has thickened, turn heat to low and whisk in butternut squash mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cooked macaroni to the pot and stir until the macaroni noodles are well coated. Add the cheese, and a touch of milk if the mixture is too thick.
Grease a 2 quart casserole dish. Pour half of the macaroni noodles into the pan. In a separate bowl, mix together melted butter and breadcrumbs. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes at 375F, or until macaroni and cheese is bubbling. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes.