Herby Butternut Mac ’n’ Cheese
This variation on a classic macaroni cheese makes a delicious and economical family supper
Serve it with a crisp salad or some steamed green vegetables.
- 600g butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cubed
- olive oil, for drizzling
- leaves from 3 thyme sprigs
- 300g macaroni (dry weight)
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 60g plain flour
- 500ml milk
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
- a handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 60g grated Cheddar cheese
- 60g fresh breadcrumbs
- a pinch of crushed dried chilli flakes
- sea salt and freshly ground
- black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Line a baking tray (cookie sheet) with baking parchment.
- Arrange the squash in a single layer on the lined baking tray. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with the thyme, then season with salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes, turning halfway through, or until tender.
- Meanwhile, cook the macaroni according to the instructions on the packet. Drain well.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan set over a low to medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for eight to 10 minutes, or until tender. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the flour. Cook for one minute, then start adding the milk, a little at a time, stirring and whisking until smooth and free from floury lumps. Cook gently for four to five minutes until the white sauce thickens. Stir in the mustard, nutmeg, parsley and most of the grated cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Stir the cooked macaroni and roasted squash into the sauce and transfer to a large ovenproof dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs, chilli flakes and remaining cheese over the top, then drizzle with oil.
- Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until bubbling and crisp and golden brown on top. Serve immediately.
OR YOU CAN TRY THIS…
– Use Gruyère or Parmesan instead of Cheddar.
– Use pumpkin instead of squash.
Extracted from Extracted from The Squash & Pumpkin Cookbook by Heather Thomas (Ebury Press, £9.99)