Feasting on food in the kitchen, the library, and life.
Hello there friends!
I was mesmerized by her photos, the steam rising up from the pan, the bubbling, golden brown layer of cheese, and the fact that it had squash in it.
I’ve never ever worked with butternut squash before, which could explain how I had no idea that peeling those suckers was akin to peeling the bark off a tree. Ugh. I almost broke one of my knives in the process. I’ve heard you can pre-steam them to make it easier to peel, and I will definitely be attempting that next time I make this recipe.
But you know what makes all that stressful, painful peeling worth it? Brown butter.
I told you, she gets me.
I would’ve been content eating it just like this; the aroma was enough to drive me insane.
But I told myself to be strong; because in just 15 short minutes my pasta would go from yum to…
And Double Woah.
I was quite sad when this dish disappeared. I just kept hoping I’d close my eyes, click my heels, and when I’d open them a whole new comforting bowl of untouched, crunchy, creamy, noodles would be there, waiting to be inhaled by me and my housemates.
It made me a lover of butternut squash, and an even larger mac and cheese junkie.
Forget the blue box. Butternut all the way!
3 cups whole wheat pasta shells (dry)
4 cups cubed butternut squash
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cups milk
8 oz shredded Italian cheese blend (mine was Mozz/Asiago/Parmesan)
2 tbsp unsalted brown butter
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
For brown butter: melt 2 tbsp unsalted butter in small saucepan. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until butter turns amber/brown color and has slightly nutty scent. Remove from heat immediately.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring medium pot of water to boil and cook pasta until al dente; drain and set aside.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and then add olive oil. Add in squash with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
3. Add chicken stock to skillet and then cover, stirring occasionally, until squash is soft and mashable (15-20 min)
4 .Remove cover and reduce heat to low. Mash squash with potato masher or a fork, smoothing to remove all big chunks.
5. Stir in milk along with half of the cheese until melted and smooth. Stir in brown butter until well incorporated.
6. Fold pasta into sauce, then pour into oven-safe baking dish (I used my large round Corningware). Cover with remaining cheese and breadcrumbs.
7. Bake dish at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, until cheese is golden and bubbly.