Roasted Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese makes for a creamy fall inspired dinner. Made with fresh herbs and blended with crème fraiche, chicken bouillon and a splash of cream that’s simmered until silky and smooth. Stirred with a blend of melted cheeses for that delicious gooey and creamy comfort feel and finished in the oven until bubbly. Topped with some fresh fried sage to give it that extra fall flare.
A lot of butternut squash dishes start off this way. Whether your making soup or sauce the process is the same. You can either peel and cube the squash or cut it in half and remove the seeds. I like to score it in a cross hatch pattern to make sure my seasoning can sink in as it roasts. Season with some olive oil, salt and pepper and the herbs and roast until soft and tender. Roasting adds another dimension to the squash instead of boiling. It deepens its flavours and gets a little sweeter and brings out more of its earthy and nutty taste. I usually like to have the oven at 425 degrees F since its more dense, it takes a while to become tender, the higher temperatures will help you get there quicker without burning. Once the squash has finished roasting, it gets pureed in the blender or food processor with some crème fraiche, and chicken bouillon. Now if your having trouble getting it really smooth here, you can add a bit of cream to help break everything down.
Butternut squash is such a great vegetable that so underrated. It can go either sweet or the savoury route and can take on a lot of flavour and spices. With this base you can season it with warming spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, or ramp up the heat with cayenne, paprika and chilies. Of course dried or fresh herbs paired with the spices are most welcomed. You really just have to think of your end goal and what taste your trying to achieve.
If i’m making a mac and cheese and I want it to taste rich and warm with some fall flare- season the squash with cayenne and paprika is not going to give me those flavours. But if I incorporate some cinnamon, rosemary, thyme, sticking with more earthy tones it will get me to my overall end goal. I hope this makes sense.
I really enjoyed the simplicity of this dish. My goal was to incorporate the creaminess I would get from pureeing roasted squash and almost folding it into a cheese sauce to create this ultra saucy and cheesy baked pasta. I wanted bubbly, sauce, no dry noodles and I achieved that. This is nothing fancy or complicated just easy cooking and family-friendly. I hope this recipe inspires you to use what you know in the kitchen and adapt it or create it in a way that you will enjoy!
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