Butternut mac & cheese: something different for Thanksgiving weekend | SierraSun.com

Butternut mac & cheese: something different for Thanksgiving weekend

Arica Davis
Yummy Fixins

Switch up the standard side dishes this Thanksgiving weekend by trying this delicious version of macaroni and cheese. This crowd-pleaser will have everyone going back for seconds.

In the mood for a little bacon? Add a half-pound of cooked and chopped bacon to the pasta mixture before baking. To prep this dish ahead of time, follow the same steps, stopping before the topping is added.

Cover the casserole dish and refrigerate; remove from fridge an hour before cooking and top with bread crumb mixture.

Butternut macaroni & cheese

Serves 10-12 as a side dish.

Ingredients

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1 pound Macaroni or Cellentani noodles

6 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup flour

3 cups milk

6 sage leaves, chopped

Dash nutmeg

Salt and pepper

2 cups butternut squash purée*

2 cups white cheddar cheese, grated

Topping ingredients

2 cups panko bread crumbs

6 tablespoons butter

6 sage leaves, chopped

Garnish

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta, cook to al dente. While pasta cooks, heat a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the butter and flour.

When the butter melts, add chopped sage leaves and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Cook for five minutes on low, or until the flour starts to lightly brown, stirring occasionally. Pour in the milk and bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally until the sauce thickens.

Remove from heat, stir in the butternut squash purée and white cheddar cheese. Season with salt and pepper and taste, adjusting seasonings as needed.

Drain the cooked pasta well and combine with sauce, then pour the mixture into an oven safe casserole dish.

Make the topping by melting the butter in a sauté pan. Toss the bread crumbs and chopped sage in the melted butter to coat. Top the pasta with the bread crumbs and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving. Garnish with grated Parmesan and serve.

* Butternut squash purée: Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Place 2 cups of peeled and chopped butternut squash on a baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 20-30 minutes or until tender. Place in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add a tablespoon of broth at a time as needed to purée.

Chef Arica Davis is owner/operator of Yummy Fixins, Personal Chef Services and Pasta Parties. Visit http://www.yummyfixins.com or call 530-539-4504 to book your next dinner party.