A macaroni and cheese for summer?!? Yes, please! If you haven't discovered this already, macaroni and cheese is one of my favorite comfort foods. It's so warm, creamy, and delicious - it is like a hug in a bowl really. I like to make classic mac n' cheese, but also like to change it up by using some butternut squash puree, including veggies like broccoli, or even spiced up with Mexican flavors, etc. This time, I figured that a bunch of shredded summer squash could be an interesting experiment. It turned out to be one of my favorite bowls of macaroni and cheese I've eaten so far! The cheese sauce was so creamy and there were tasty flecks of yellow and green summer squash throughout. Since I stirred the squash in raw, it retained it's freshness which provided a nice contrast in flavor and texture to the cheese and noodles.
So, here we have another recipe to use up some of your zucchini and other summer squash. I used one small yellow squash and a small-medium zucchini. You can use any that you have around, though the green is a nice color contrast. I find this type of recipe to be a good transition meal from summer to fall. This recipe will make enough to serve about four people as a main dish with a salad, or more people as a side dish.
Summer squash macaroni and cheese
1 lb box of pasta such as shells
about 3 cups (lightly packed) unpeeled summer squash that has been grated on the large holes of a box grater
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet white onion
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 cups whole milk
2-1/2 cups shredded cheese (I used a mix of extra sharp white cheddar and monterey jack)
Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until just under al dente. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and butter a baking dish.
Place the shredded summer squash in a colander in the sink with a couple pinches of salt. Toss and let sit to remove some of the water.
Prepare the sauce. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and onion. Stir well and cook until just softened. Add the flour and stir well. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Slowly whisk in the milk until all the flour lumps are removed. Cook, whisking often, until the milk begins to thicken. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cayenne and mustard.
When the milk is thickened, remove from the heat and slowly whisk in 2 cups of the cheese. Whisk until melted and smooth.
When the pasta is finished cooking, drain it and return it to the pot. Gently stir to help dry out any water. Squeeze the summer squash with your hands or in a kitchen towel to remove any excess water. Gently stir it into the pasta. Then stir in the cheese sauce to coat.
Pour into the baking dish, top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese, and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, until bubbly and the top begins to turn golden. Let sit for about 5 minutes before serving.
What was I cooking one year ago?: Galumpkis
Two years ago?: shrimp etoufee