Butternut Squash and Broccoli Mac and Cheese

Another win from Heidi Swanson – healthy mac and cheese! I had all of the necessary produce for this recipe delivered yesterday in my CSA box: cherry tomatoes, basil, broccoli, and delicata squash. Alex and I put it together in about ten minutes and had a hard time putting our forks down once it was done. This is actually a reasonable weeknight meal in that there isn’t much prep work and it bakes in only 20 minutes. *And* it’s a wonderful way to get a few more veggies and whole wheat pasta into your diet!

Recipe courtesy of 101 Cookbooks

  • 1 small winter squash, peeled, seeded and cut into tiny chunks
  • olive oil
  • 1 bunch of basil, stems removed
  • 2 slices good brown bread, stale or dried out in the oven
  • 1/2 a small head of broccoli (100 g / 3.5 oz), roughly chopped
  • 4 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream
  • ~ 1 3/4 cups / 3.5 oz / 100 g grated white cheddar cheese
  • ~ 1 3/4 cups / 3.5 oz / 100 g grated gruyere cheese
  • a large handful of (yellow) cherry tomatoes
  • 3 cups / 300 g dried (whole wheat) macaroni elbows

Preheat your oven to 400F with a rack in the middle. Put a large pot of water on to boil.

Place the squash on a large baking sheet, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden.

In the meantime, pulse half the basil, all of the bread, the broccoli and a lug of olive oil in a food processor until you’ve got a fine crumb. Transfer to a small bowl and give the processor a rinse.

In a separate bowl, combine the creme fraiche and grated cheeses.

Place the cherry tomatoes in the food processor with the remaining basil. Pulse a couple times to break things up, then add to the creme fraiche mixture and stir well.

Boil the pasta in well-salted water for a bit less time than the package suggests – you want it ever so slightly undercooked. Drain, reserving a big cup of the hot pasta water for later use. Return the hot pasta to the pan and add the cheese mixture to it. Add the squash and give it a good stir. Add pasta water to thin the sauce to the consistency of cream. It can be a bit runny as the pasta will soak it up in the oven.

Transfer everything to a large baking dish or casserole. Sprinkle the green breadcrumbs evenly across the top and bake for 20 -25 minutes or until the topping is crunchy. Remove from the oven, and wait 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 8 – 10.

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