This weeks mac & cheese recipe hits all of the buttons for the cool weather that has been teasing us lately. It is comforting and familiar, while at the same time surprising you with the rich and creamy maple-roasted squash and a savoury sage garnish. When prepared this way, you are basically substituting half of the pasta in traditional Mac & Cheese with the roasted squash, thereby replacing the simple carbohydrates in the noodles with complex carbohydrates, fibre and nutrients!
Mac & Cheese with Roasted Acorn Squash and Sage
1 acorn squash, halved and seeded
1/3 cup maple syrup
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the barbecue on HIGH for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to MEDIUM. Clean and seed the squash,sprinkle with salt and pepper and pour the maple syrup into the centre of each piece, as shown. Arrange the squash on the upper rack and grill for 30 minutes.When cool to the touch, cut into cubes.
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp white flour
½ yellow onion, finely diced
1 cup 2% milk
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dry mustard
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp ground white pepper
1 cup old white cheddar cheese, grated
Melt butter over low heat. Add diced onions and sauté until onions are translucent. Add flour and blend over low heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Stir milk in slowly. Cook and stir with a whisk until thickened and smooth. Add worchestershire sauce, dry mustard, salt, cayenne and white pepper. Reduce the heat and add grated cheddar cheese.
200 gram dried fusilli
Cook pasta according to the manufacturers instructions. Drain.
We seem to be having a great season for the fresh herbs that are growing in pots on the patio. This is a good thing, since we will continue to use them to flavour a variety of dishes until a hard frost hits. At that point, we will dry the sage, thyme and oregano. Until then, we love gently frying the sage leaves and using them in all sorts of recipes - soups, salads, eggs and here, in this mac & cheese dish.
In a shallow saute pan, heat 1/2 cup of canola oil over MEDIUM heat, until it starts to bubble. Add the sage leaves and watch them as they gently crisp up and turn a golden colour- approximately 60-90 seconds. Remove with tongs and place on a paper towel. Sprinkle with sea salt.
To assemble: Place a layer of cubed squash in the bottom of a buttered baking dish. Layer drained pasta over squash, then top with another layer of cubed squash. Pour the cheese sauce over top of this. Place in a 350 C oven and bake for 30 minutes. Garnish with Crispy Sage and serve with a refreshing green salad.