When Scott Bobleo and I came back from China we spent a month playing beach bum in Florida. We spent our days soaking up the sun, and our evenings walking along the beach. It was a pretty sweet way to unwind from one of the most intense experiences of our lives. While we were there, Scott decided it would be fun to take up jogging.
He was off like a shot, sprinting down the island, running over bridges, and hot-shotting around the neighborhood. My jogging career was a little less glorious. After a seriously mind-bending effort I reached my running peak - 2 miles, straight. I think it might have been the hardest thing I ever did.
So you might imagine my awe when someone runs an entire marathon. That's over twenty six miles! My sister, Heather, ran the Austin Marathon for the third time this past Sunday. It's become a bit of a tradition for her to gather friends on the night before and carb-load. Guests bring pasta, bread, and beer, and though it is usually an early night, it's always a good time.
This year my contribution was a hot, creamy casserole of cheddar cheese, butternut squash, and whole wheat macaroni. I was tempted to name this Mac n' Cheese, but really, the cheese flavor is relatively mellow in this dish. I know this makes me sound incredibly geeky, but I actually like how much you can still taste the butternut squash in this casserole.
Butternut Cheddar Macaroni Bake
- 1 butternut squash
- 1 onion
- 1 pound whole wheat macaroni
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or melted butter
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk, divided
- 2 cups shredded cheddar, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Cut the stem off of the squash, then cut it into two pieces. Cut each piece down the middle, exposing the center of the squash. Scoop the seeds out of the squash's center, then lay the other pieces on a baking sheet lined with parchment or silpat, skin-side up.
- Peel the onion, and cut it in haf. Place the onion on the baking sheet as well.
- Roast the squash and onion for 30 - 45 minutes, or until the squash is fork-tender.
- Allow the squash to cool enough to handle, then scoop the flesh from the skin. Transfer the squash flesh and the onion to a blender or food processor along with 1 cup of milk. Puree until smooth.
- Boil the macaroni according to package directions, then drain and shock with cold water until it comes to room temperature. Toss with olive oil or melted butter, and set aside.
- In a medium sized pot, melt two tablespoons of butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted add the flour and whisk together.
- Cook the butter and flour, stirring continuously for about two minutes, or until the flour smells toasted.
- Add one cup of milk, and whisk together. Add the squash puree, and mix well to combine. When the mixture becomes bubbling hot, add the shredded cheese. Stir the cheese into the sauce until it melts completely.
- Add salt, and mix again. Taste, then add more if you find the sauce to be at all bland.
- Combine the sauce and macaroni in a large casserole dish. Mix well to spread the sauce out. Sprinkle the other cup of shredded cheese over the top, followed by the breadcrumbs.
- Bake for around thirty minutes, or until the cheese melts and the breadcrumbs get crispy.
By the way, this is what happens when you attempt food photography on an empty stomach. Aww, I'll just have a bite...
Love my posts? Help me out by sharing them with your friends!