Monday, January 12, 2015

Butternut squash macaroni and cheese with hazelnut crumble


The wind chills and snow are hitting us hard lately here in western NY! I actually had a snow day from my regular job this past Friday. That means it's time for comfort foods that warm up your belly and soul. Butternut squash mac n' cheese is something that I used to make rather frequently, then I didn't make it for a couple of years (not sure why - maybe because I was making so many other kinds like this and this and this). Surprisingly, it never ended up on the blog until now. So for the 11th week of 12 Weeks of Winter Squash, I'm finally posting it! To make it even more delicious, I've added a hazelnut crumble topping.  

We do like to go out and snowshoe, hike, and birdwatch in the winter, but lately it's been just too cold and so bitterly windy that we have been laying low in our free time. That means warm blankets, knitting, too much Netflix, steaming mugs of tea, and warming comfort food. When I make mac n' cheese, it's usually the main course for our meal. A side salad helps round it out a lot. This dish will serve about four to six people as a main dish. 

Also, I recently got a smartphone (for the first time ever!) and am finally on Instagram - it would be awesome if you would follow me (and I'll try to follow you back). You can also find me on Facebook and Pinterest.  


Butternut squash macaroni and cheese with hazelnut crumble
for the crumble:
1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried parsley

for the macaroni and cheese:
1 lb. box of short-cut pasta (penne, elbows, etc.)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
2 heaped tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1-3/4 cup whole milk
1-1/2 cups cooked butternut squash puree (or one ~15 oz. can)
1-3/4 cups grated extra sharp cheddar

Pulse the hazelnuts in a food processor until the are finely chopped (resembling large breadcrumbs). Put in a bowl and mix in the remaining ingredients for the crumble until well-combined and set aside.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees and lightly butter a large baking dish.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until just under al dente. Drain and return to pot.

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce. Heat the butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat. When melted, stir in the flour and cook, stirring often, for about 1 minute. Stir in the cayenne, paprika, salt, and black pepper. Whisk in the milk and continue to whisk until all the flour clumps are removed. Continue to cook and whisk often until the milk begins to thicken.

Whisk in the squash and continue to cook, whisking often until the mixture is hot.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the cheddar a handful at a time. Gently stir into the pasta until evenly coated and then pour the pasta into the prepared baking dish.

Sprinkle the hazelnut crumble over the top of the pasta. Place in the oven and bake until the crumble is golden and the pasta is bubbly, about 20 minutes.



What was I cooking one year ago?: chipotle chicken, corn, & potato chowder
Two years ago?: kabocha squash & coconut pudding
Three?: cheddar broccoli soup
Four?: Chana Palak
5?: Thai sweet pumpkin

13 comments:

  1. The pasta sounds delicious and the crumble even more so! Congrats on the smartphone :)

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  2. wow- hazelnut crumble? that sounds awesome! definitely will have to try that trick :)

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  3. I LOVE the idea of hazelnuts in that crumble. Sounds unique and delicious. Also, you had me at mac and cheese. :)

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  4. I love the idea of a hazelnut crumble! Yum!

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  5. Pasta and nut crumble sound soooo good. Got to give it a try...definitely.

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  6. What a great mac and cheese dish! Looks like I have to add this to the dinner menu soon. Also it gets me excited for garden season!

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  7. Damn delcioous and creative way to present mac and cheese!!!

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  8. OOh, I've been waiting to see this recipe! It looks and sounds SO delicious - I will absolutely be trying this! =D

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  9. I love the idea of butternut squash in mac 'n cheese. And that crumble sounds over the top! Really good -- thanks.

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  10. I used to make butternut mac & cheese all the time too! I need it in my life again! :-) This looks absolutely delicious! Love that nutty topping!

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  11. This is so creative Amy...butternut squash in mac and cheese topped with hazelnut crumble...
    Hope you are having a great week :)

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  12. Butternut squash adds a nice creamy texture to pasta dishes... Great idea to add it to Mac & Cheese. And I love the hazelnut topping - and we happen to have hazelnut trees.

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  13. Hi Amy,
    I've not tried cheese with hazelnut crumble in baked pasta. Your butternut squash macaroni and cheese with hazelnut crumble really looks delicious ^-^!

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