Curried Mac 'n Cheese w/ Delicata Squash

>> Tuesday, October 15, 2013

We ate our fair share of cafeteria food last week, and not all of it was bad. I'm partial to hospital parfaits -- chocolate pudding layered with cool whip and Oreo cookies. The dessert seems to be made the same way + using the same ingredients everywhere I've stayed/visited, likely because a lot of hospitals use the same food service suppliers.

The cafeteria also featured a mean black bean burger and a amazingly delicious macaroni and cheese dish. Now that we're home and cooking again, I've been strangely missing the whole convenience factor of just going downstairs and grabbing a tray for each meal. So, I thought recreating some of those comfort foods might do the trick.

Local delicata squash is a huge favorite in our house this time of year. So, I thought I might like to try and inject its sweet flavor into an easy, satisfying dinner.

This recipe calls for a flavorful + roasted puree. So, just preheat your oven to 375 degrees F, wash the skin of the delicata squash well, then slice and scoop. Drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle some salt and pepper, then roast in the oven for around 30-40 minutes. Until lightly browned and softened.

Scoop flesh out of the skin (don't discard -- you can snack on the skin!) and then blend in a food processor or blender with a little water until the mixture resembles a thick applesauce.

* Alternatively, you can use canned pumpkin or squash if time's an issue.

Serves 4-6, or dinner for 2-3 for 2 nights!

What you'll need . . .
  • 1 cup delicata squash puree, instructions above
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I used a mixed bag)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 cups milk (soy milk is delicious), unsweetened
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder, or more depending on your preference
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 1 egg white, whisked
  • 1 tablespoon butter or Earth Balance
  • 12 ounces elbow pasta
  • breadcrumbs, whole wheat
 Method . . .
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9 inch square baking dish or a 2-1/2 quart round and set aside.
  2. Start a pot of water to cook your pasta. Just cook it al dente, around 8 or 9 minutes.
  3. While your pasta cooks, combine your puree, cheeses, milk, and seasonings in a small pot over low heat. Mix until totally combined. You may adjust it with more/less milk as desired. Ours was around the consistency of fondue.
  4. Then drain the pasta, put the tablespoon of butter or Earth Balance back into the pot, return the pasta too -- toss and pour your cheese mixture over top. 
  5. Mix gently. Then slowly pour the egg white in while mixing so it doesn't cook unevenly. Add more spice if you like.
  6. Cover with breadcrumbs -- the more the better, in my opinion.
  7. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Then uncover and bake another 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

I am so excited because we have half of our mac 'n cheese left for dinner tonight! The delicata squash is so sweet, but amazing in combination with the cheese and curry. I'd love to experiment with making a vegan version of this dish.


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