1. This would make a great vegetarian pasta supper as well as a side.
2. You can roast, peel, dice and puree your own whole butternut squash or you can use a 10 oz bag of frozen. My grocery store offers the frozen squash already purred and also cubed. Whichever you select, just defrost it in the microwave before adding it in. If you want to make the cubed squash nice and smooth, zip it through your blender or food processor after it’s defrosted. Easy!
This recipe makes enough for four supper portions or a side dish for six.
1 pound of short cut pasta (I used shells)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
1 shallot (or red onion), diced
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup of milk
1 (10 oz) package of defrosted and pureed butternut squash
1 cup of Cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, grated ( plus a little extra for garnish)
About four tablespoons of fresh thyme roughly chopped
salt and pepper
Bring one large pot to a boil over medium-high heat and drop your pasta. Cook until al dente (about 7 minutes).
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add in your chopped shallot along with about two tablespoons of EVOO. Add a nice pinch of salt and pepper to your shallot. Saute about three minutes or until nice and tender. Add in one more drizzle of EVOO. Next, whisk in your flour and cook about one minute. Then, whisk in your milk. Whisk everything together about a minute before whisking in your pureed squash. Continue whisking over medium-high heat until the sauce thickens (it takes a couple of minutes). Once the sauce is thickened enough to coat your spoon, whisk in your shredded Cheddar and your grated Parmesan cheese along with your thyme.
Drain the water from your cooked pasta and pour your squash mixture down over the top of the pasta. Serve immediately and garnish with a little extra Parmesan and thyme.
Okay, if your sauce starts to thicken up a bit too much, just whisk in a bit more milk until it reaches a nice Mac & Cheese consistency.
Your family will love it…butternut squash and all.