My idea to add fig & jalapeno jam to the mac & cheese was shot down (by both Matt & Scott the chef at Corner Table) but I still wanted to do something different to it. I had 1/4 of a butternut squash in the fridge & a ton of jalapenos in the garden so those became my additions.
I have to tell you this might be one of the best versions of mac & cheese I've ever made. The roasted butternut squash gives the perfect touch of sweetness against the salty cheese & slightly spicy jalapeno. Now I'm wishing I'd made a double batch so we had leftovers for lunch...
Butternut Jalapeno Mac & Cheese
1 1/2 c cubed, peeled butternut squash, 1-inch cubes
6 oz penne pasta
1/2 T unsalted butter
1 jalapeno, seeded & minced
1 T all-purpose flour
1/4 c heavy cream
1/2 c milk
6 oz sharp white cheddar, cut into small chunk or grated
pinch of dry mustard
salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Put the cubed butternut squash in a small roasting pan. Drizzle with enough olive oil to coat the cubes. Sprinkle with some salt. Roast until soft & starting to brown, about 30 minutes. Set aside.
Cook the pasta according to the directions. Drain & set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the jalapeno & sauté for a minute or two. Add the flour & stir for 1 minute, do not let it brown. Slowly whisk in the cream & milk. Stir until hot & sightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the cheese & stir until melted. Stir in the mustard. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
Mix the roasted squash, cooked pasta & cheese sauce together in a small baking dish. Sprinkle with some panko. Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown & crispy.
2 - 3 servings.
Finally, I want to wish a Happy 4th Anniversary to the best husband a girl could have!
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