In autumn in the countryside it is difficult to ignore those beautifully coloured squashes. we have so much more variety now like the onion and kumquat squashes rather than the traditional and common butternut squash.
We were in our local farmers shop buying some staples and among their Halloween display were these little Gems so how could I resist?
Of course i didn’t, there are many things you can do with a squash such as roasting with garlic and rosemary or they are great as chunks in a tagine or casserole. as the nights are getting darker and the wind and rain is setting in I really fancied something comforting and simple that wouldn’t lose that beautiful sweetness you get from the smaller brightly coloured squashes. whats more comforting than mac n cheese? Well how about adding that sweet roasted orange flesh into the mix as the rain is pounding on the window and you curl up in comfy pants and jumper to a bowl full of goodness.
Maybe Autumn wont be so bad afterall.
- 1 Squash or 2 Small Squashes (I used Kumquat)
- 200g of macaroni (I used the penne I had in my cupboard)
- 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 5 1/2 cups of whole milk
- 1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
- 5 cups of extra sharp white cheddar, shredded
- Oil (i always use rapeseed)
- sea or kosher salt for salting pasta water and seasoning mac n cheese and squash
- freshly ground black pepper
- Panko bread crumbs
- Start by roasting the squash. Preheat the oven to 375. With a sharp knife, slice just the tip of the acorn squash so it can stand upright. Then cut the top of the squash in half or if you are haing a whole squash each you can cut at the widest portion of the squash so you have a lid (save the lid).Scrape the inside seeds out with a spoon, scraping any extra squash if the flesh is particularly thick.
- Season the inside lightly with salt and pepper and rub the inside and outside of the squash and the lids in oil. Place the squash and the lids on a rimmed baking sheet and add a splash of water inside each squash and a big splash on the baking sheet itself. Roast for 25 minutes.
- To make the mac n’ cheese, heat the milk in a pot on medium heat until it just begins to bubble around the sides but don’t let it boil.
- Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Right when it starts to melt add the flour a little at a time, whisking the mixture until the flour becomes a paste and has soaked up all the butter.
- Pour the hot milk into the flour mixture a little at a time, whisking the whole time to break up the lumps of flour. Simmer the mixture for about 10 minutes on medium low heat, whisking occassionally, until thick and smooth. Add the 5 cups of cheese, 1 teaspoon of salt 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg.
- Cook the pasta in salted pasta water for about 4 minutes so that the pasta is little under al dente. Drain and run under cold water.
- Add the macaroni to the cheese.
- Stuff the squash with the mac n’ cheese and sprinkle a thin layer of breadcrumbs over the tops. Add little dabs of the softened butter on top of the squash.
- Place the stuffed squash back in the oven for another 10 minutes (but not the lids). The squash should be soft and tender and you should easily be able to pierce the flesh with the tip of a knife.