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Autumn harvest mac & cheese

Dear fans of pasta,

I have something new for you; it’s my Autumn Harvest Mac &  Cheese. It’s creamy, a bit salty and a touch sweet, and completely satisfying.

And it contains bacon…need I say more?  😉

I have been looking forward to making some new things with butternut squash this fall. Now, butternut squash plays nicely with other ingredients, as it doesn’t have an overwhelming flavor. It tastes very similar to pumpkin when roasted; in fact, I read recently that canned pumpkin manufacturers often stretch their pumpkin puree by adding butternut squash puree to it. We’d never know, would we?  The taste is so close, and both are very good for you.

I enjoyed the process of making this dish. It was quite simple. First, I roasted the vegetables, then boiled the pasta, then added the veggies and other ingredients to it until heated through. That’s it!

First, roasting the vegetables:

I peeled and diced my butternut squash. (See tutorial on properly preparing a buttenut for coooking on my Facebook page.) I lined a baking sheet with foil, drizzled it with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, and spread out the diced squash cubes on the pan. I peeled and chopped three shallots (or one small-medium white onion, chopped) and sprinkled over the squash cubes. Then I salted and peppered it all, and stuck it in a 425 degree oven for 40 minutes. I stirred twice during those 40 minutes.

During the last five minutes of roasting, I added two minced cloves of garlic, sprinkling over the top of the other vegetables.

After 40 minutes were up, I pulled out the pan and turned off the oven. Now, try a bite or two. So good just like this, in my opinion.

Here’s the recipe:

Mama Steph’s Autumn Harvest Mac & Cheese

  • Roasted butternut squash, shallot and garlic mixture (as noted above)
  • 3 cups dry large elbow macaroni pasta, cooked according to package directions. Drain and return to pot.
  • 4 oz lowfat cream cheese (I prefer the Philadelphia brand)
  • 2 TBS olive oil or butter
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth (may need to add more)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 slices bacon, fried and drained on paper towels, and crumbled
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes

Add the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, broth, butter and evaporated milk to the hot pasta. Stir over low-medium heat until mixture is melted and creamy. Add  one teaspoon red pepper flakes, roasted vegetables, bacon and salt and pepper to taste. If the mixture is a bit too sticky, add more broth.

The result is a creamy, salty (mmm, bacon!) and slightly sweet (mmm, butternut!) pasta dish that my pickiest son actually really enjoyed. Let me know what YOUR picky eaters think!

You might also like my creamy, incredible macaroni and cheese, or this comfort food extraordinaire, chicken fettuccine casserole.

Enjoy!

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