Friday, October 15, 2010

Butternut Jalapeno Mac and Cheese

Poor Matt & I, we both spent yesterday morning at the dentist. He had to get a couple of fillings & whole bunch of shots to get numbed up. I moved into my next set of invisalign liners after 4 weeks in the last pair & my teeth just ache. The assistants at the office warned me that I should cook something soft for dinner & they were right. Mac & cheese seemed to be the perfect comfort food for the occasion.
Butternut & Jalapeno Mac & Cheese
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
olive oil
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!

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at OR at then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2010 Kathy Lewinski


Unknown said...

Just when you didn't think mac anc cheese could get any better!

Heather said...

Oh, wow....that sounds so perfect!! I'll have to jot this recipe down. :)

Rose said...

Sounds yummy! Happy Anniversary to you both!

Elle said...

1) Happy Anniversary!

2) Hope you both are pain free today.

3) I want this, right now. It's been too long since we had mac and cheese--TOO long! I love your version!

Jersey Girl Cooks said...

Oh, this mac and cheese looks good!

Megan said...

This does sound scrumptious! Hope your pain free today! And Happy anniversary! :)

Lori said...

Oh man I am so going to make this. I love mine with zucchini so I just know this one will be a good one.

My heart goes out to you. Dentist work is one of the worst things. Hate it.

Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat) said...

Happy anniversary!!!! :)

That mac n cheese looks amazing.

Kate said...

I should try M&C with squash as I'm positive I would love it. This past summer I did a version of it with diced tomato and avocado, with a little cumin and chili powder mixed in for a Tex-Mex flair. It was divine. Happy anniversary to you both!!

Beth (jamandcream) said...

Perfect comfort food Kat. I would happily eat mac n cheese every day of the week

Alicia Foodycat said...

Happy anniversary you guys! I hope your mouths feel better. I love the idea of adding butternut and jalapeno to mac and cheese. I will give this one a run!

Thistlemoon said...

Happy Anniversary! Sorry to hear about the pain...but I think this mac n' cheese makes up for it!

Natasha @ Saved by the Egg Timer said...

This sounds like a great combo! Sneaky little veg in it too.

Peter M said...

I'm really diggin' the jalapenos in the mac n' cheeese. Happy Anniversary...behave!

grace said...

there are few things worse than mouth pain. anything that hinders eating is unacceptable. this is an awesome batch of mac & cheese though--well done!

Deborah said...

Perfect Fall comfort food!!

Lori said...

The jalapeno is such a great touch with the butternut. Sounds so good! Although, I kind of think your original fig and jalapeno jam would have turned out good too. I hope you all had a wonderful anniversary!

Elaine said...

I made this tonight and it was fantastic! I must admit to upping the pasta amount to about 10 oz (we were starving!) and therefore doubling the sauce. I also added some chopped bacon. Why not? :) Will definitely make this again!

Alicia Foodycat said...

I made a version of this last night, using spaghetti squash instead of the butternut. Yum!

B Val said...

Great recipe! I want to make jalapeno mac & cheese and was struggling to envision something sweet to balance out the flavours. Butternut squash is pure genius!

And as someone who's had 4 root canals (really, it's true) I can relate to your need for comfort food. Keep up the good work!

B Val said...

I meant to add, I find as a rule of thumb when making mac & cheese, I undercook the pasta before baking it. Typically cook it about halfway. That way it retains some shape & texture after baking.


Anonymous said...

love it! such a great combo of flavors. I made a vegan version of it here:

kat said...

Anonymous - A great dairy-free, GF take on this recipe.

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