Macaroni & cheese is one of my top comfort foods. The nights are beginning to cool and I can feel fall in the air. Incidentally, the trees are also throwing in the towel and the leaves are beginning to turn as well. This is my signal to begin thinking of warm, comforting dishes that also make great leftovers for lunches for many days. The only thing that keeps me from cooking it during the summer is the fact that it’s so flaming hot out and I feel like running the AC while the oven is on 350 is a double negative.
I’ve been working on this recipe for over a year, making it a bit different every time. Sneaky vegetables….so sneaky when they get into my food. (Can you see the squash in there????) I don’t have kids but I also don’t eat as many vegetables as I should. I also have the luxury of squash in my life. Butternut squash and acorn squash specifically. Every time I go to NY, my mom sneaks some into the passenger seat of the car, the trunk, or pretty much anywhere she can fit them, and I drive south with some squash. Growing up, we ate them mostly at holidays since they can be a real stinker to process/cook. The Internet, who would NEVER lie, told me that I can cook these hard gourds down in the crock pot and low-and-behold, the Internet didn’t lie. 🙂
I made this the other night and even PIC says, “you can’t really taste the squash.” That’s the goal PIC :D, he’s such a smart, nice guy….I figure anything covered in 2 cups of cheese can’t be bad! I also add some Sirachi hot sauce to my cheese sauce. I just love that stuff…..
Here’s how you do it:
- Take big,
- Wash squash
- Put in crock pot
- Pour about 2 cups of water in the bottom of the crock pot
- Put the lid on
- Cook those suckers for 3-6 hours, depending on the size of your squash.
- Let them cool.
- Remove carefully, they will be VERY soft.
- Peel, remove seeds, process as you see fit.
On with the macaroni….the star of the show! I know everyone has a homemade mac & cheese recipe so if you want to use your rue and your cheese blend, please do so. This is merely to let you know how easy it is to put some delicious squash into your recipe, not lose any texture or flavor, and get some more veggies in your diet. In fact, I’m going to do all of us a favor and skip the recipe right until the adding of the squash. Ok?
Recipe is for four servings and/or 1/2 lb. of pasta
Once you have made your cheese sauce…….
- 1 c. butternut squash, cooked.
- Strain/put your squash into a fine mesh sieve to remove some of the water. If you prepare your squash in the crock pot, they have some more moisture in them. Removing the excess water will keep your cheese sauce nice and thick.
- Once the cheese sauce is ready to be added to the pasta, turn off the heat and add the squash. Stir to incorporate and then mix the pasta in.
- Bake as you normally would.
Voila! Sneaky vegetables….