When I was growing up, my parents let us choose one vegetable that we didn’t have to eat.
I chose squash.
The flavor was strange, the texture mushy beyond belief and……..it was just gross.
Since I have come to love previously hated foods like brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes, I decided this year I would give squash the old college try. I wanted to make a dish with squash that I actually enjoyed.
Then I found this recipe online. It involved roasting cubed squash and mixing it with things I like.
Things like brussels sprouts and onions.
And cheese. Lots of cheese.
Roasted Vegetable Mac & Cheese
- 8 oz whole wheat pasta (I used elbow macaroni)
- 1/2 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 1 large apple, peeled and chopped (I used Granny Smith)
- 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
- 2 cups brussels sprouts, chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 cups milk
- 8 oz cheese, grated (I used extra sharp cheddar)
- 1/2 cup parmesan, grated, plus more for topping
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Add chopped squash and apple to a baking pan and drizzle with one tbsp olive oil and the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
While the squash is roasting, heat a skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onions and brussels sprouts with a pinch of salt and saute for 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.
Set aside squash/apples and sprouts/onion mixture. If pasta is cooked, set it aside as well. Reduce oven heat to 350.
In a medium saucepan, heat one tablespoon of butter on medium heat and whisk in the flour to create a roux. Add the milk while continuing to whisk, and begin adding cheese in increments about 3-4 minutes apart. Continue whisking together so the cheese melts and doesn’t stick to the bottom. When there are no more clumps, the cheese sauce is ready.
Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick spray. Begin to layer pasta, vegetables and apples, and cheese sauce in batches, just mixing to make sure all is combined. Top with panko and another sprinkling of parmesan.
Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Recipe adapted from: How Sweet Eats
I brought the mac & cheese dish as my offering for my family’s Halloween dinner this evening. Though I might tweak the recipe a bit more, the result was still pretty delicious. The best part? It didn’t taste like squash! 🙂
It was a relatively small gathering: just my immediate family, my grandma, uncle, two aunts, and my sister’s boyfriend. It was actually nice having a relatively low-key Halloween–it felt a little like Thanksgiving, but with stranger food. My mom made a cauliflower brain with a cream sauce as well as a pumpkin-shaped cheese ball.
Panacotta shaped eyeballs also made an appearance–my sister Emily is getting as good as my Mom at making food look disgusting but taste awesome!
And my sister Moriah made a wonderfully homey Honey Stout Roast.
There was plenty other food besides this; as usual, we had enough to feed more than twice the amount of people that were actually there.
And even though there were less than a dozen of us, we still had to dress up. Cause that’s what we do.
Emily was a perfect Flo (the Progressive girl), and I dressed as my husband Dave, who was unable to attend. The most adorable little monster you’ve ever seen was of course my niece Aurelia.
My mom is all about Halloween being as creepy as possible, so she dressed up as a hag and asked us all night long if we wanted any of the apples from her basket. “Errrr….no, thanks. I’m good.”
Moriah was Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica and Tyler was Bruce Willis…going to the movies…incognito. 🙂
As usual, we hung around the kitchen chatting, drinking, and laughing, until Mom and Emily finally insisted we head to the room they decorated. What it is about a kitchen that is just so much more comfortable to hang out in?
I hadn’t eaten all day, so I had more than my fair share of tastes of everything. (My Aunt Colleen even brought sushi which was a surprising, but very welcome, addition!)
How about another monster picture?
Well, squash somehow made its way to my stomach this evening with no adverse effects. So now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go wash off my goatee.