I’m guessing you didn’t think part 2 would come so soon. Neither did I but I couldn’t wait any longer to try out this new recipe I came across last week:
Roasted Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
2 cups cubed butternut squash
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup penne (dry)
1 2/3 cups 2% milk
6-8 large sage leaves, torn
1/2 cup shredded fontina cheese
bread crumbs (optional)
Now for my adapted version of the recipe:
6 cups cubed butternut squash
3 1/2 cups lumaconi rigati (dry)
4 cups coconut milk
2 tsp herbes de provence (italian seasoning mix will substitute)
1 1/2 cups shredded gruyere
1 cup shredded emmental and gouda mix
I’ll offer an explanation for my adaptations: I felt that just 1 cup of noodles would not be enough considering the fact that I was planning to eat this dish as a meal and not just as a side. Furthermore, I wanted to have leftovers.
Personally, there are several types of pasta I prefer over penne noodles, especially when it comes to mac and cheese. The type of noodle really doesn’t matter here.
I have been drinking coconut milk for about 5 years now. As a result I’m sensitive to dairy milk. I have never had any serious issues substituting cococnut milk for dairy milk in any of my cooking. Depending on the thickness of the milk, I sometimes add a bit of water, or decrease the amount of milk used in the recipe.
Despite the fact that I am a mere hour from Italy, finding fontina cheese proved to be very difficult. I read that gruyere, emmental and gouda were all worthy substitutes for fontina. As such, I decided to try all three.
Lastly, I never cook with added salt, and the majority of the time when a recipe calls for breadcrumbs I skip that step.
On to the prep and cooking:
Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly grease (I used olive oil). After cubing the squash, toss the squash lightly in olive oil and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
10 minutes before the squash is done, place the pasta and milk in a medium pot on the stove. Cooking the pasta in milk will make the mac and cheese thicker and save you a few steps in the end. Be sure to stir the pasta consistently so it doesn’t stick to the bottom. This happens much quicker when cooking the pasta in milk. Add the herbs/spices after cooking the pasta for 10 minutes.
Remove the squash and mash into a purée with a fork. At this point the squash should be cooked enough that you can easily mash it with little effort. Add the purée to the pasta and stir to incorporate. Cook until the pasta is at the desired thickness. For me this was immediately. I’ve found that organic coconut milk (which is the only type I can find in France) is thinner than the coconut milk I buy in the States, thus the majority of my milk was either absorbed or evaporated at this point.
Remove from heat and add the cheese, stirring to combine. Return to heat if there is still a significant amount of milk that hasn’t evaporated. Serve and enjoy.
I nearly quadroupled the recipe which was definitely unnecessary, but just one cup of noodles didn’t seem to be nearly enough. I would suggest tripling the recipe for a family of 3-4 to eat as a side dish paired with something else; perhaps a protein. I, on the other hand, will be eating mac and cheese for the next few days. I certainly don’t have a problem with this.