Winter Squash & Kale Mac & Cheese

If you have been looking for the best mac & cheese recipe, you've just found it! This Winter Squash & Kale Mac & Cheese has it all — a creamy, cheesy butternut squash gratin with pasta and tender blanched kale topped with a buttery herbed crumb crust.

Winter Squash & Kale Mac & Cheese

1 small butternut or spaghetti squash
2 T each butter & flour
1 t dry mustard (optional)
1 t salt
2 c milk
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 bunch kale, tough stems removed, roughly chopped
2 cups dry macaroni or other short tubular pasta
For Breadcrumb Topping:
1 slice sourdough bread, crusts removed
1 t chopped fresh parsley
2 t butter
Heat oven to 400°. Line baking sheet with foil or parchment & oil.

Slice squash in half vertically & remove seeds. Place two halves flesh side down on the prepared baking pan and roast for 25-30 min or until flesh is tender. Set aside to cool.

Once cooled, scoop out flesh & puree, either in blender or mash with fork. Measure out 1 c. Set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°

In large saucepan, melt butter. Sprinkle in flour & dry mustard, stirring until it forms a paste. Cook 1 min, stirring constantly until bubbly. Add milk, 1/4 c at a time, stirring after each addition. Continue to add milk in small additions, stirring until the sauce is smooth. Bring sauce to a boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly, cook for 1 min, then remove from the heat. Add cheese, salt & squash puree, stir until melted & combined.

Cook pasta in salted boiling water. Add chopped kale 2 min before draining. Drain. Mix pasta and sauce together in pot & then transfer to greased baking dish.

Add bread, parsley & butter to food processor and pulse 6-7 times, until crumbled. Sprinkle over casserole. Bake for 15 min.

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