This recipe was inspired by: veggies that needed to be used, tummies that needed to be filled, and a recipe I no longer have that definitely included ham. All quantities are approximate as it was a ‘throw together’ recipe. But, it was wonderfully yummy and my guess is anything remotely close will also taste great (because that is what happens when you take great veggies and add some butter).
- 1 small butternut squash, diced into small cubes
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1/2 bag or more of kale chopped and de-stemmed
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
- pinch or two of parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cups of milk
- 1/4 cup of pasta water
- 1/3-1/2 box of angel hair pasta, cooked to al dente
- salt and pepper
Sauté butternut squash in 1 Tbsp butter. When about half cooked, add the onion, salt and pepper. Sauté until butternut squab is starting to brown but not too soft and onions are beginning to caramelize. Remove squash and onion from pan, and sauté kale in remaining 1 Tbsp butter several minutes, then add to squash. In pot, cook the pasta until it is al dente. In sauté pan, add milk, cheese, pasta water, salt and pepper in sauté pan, then add veggie mixture and pasta. Mix it all together and serve warm.
In the South, mac ‘n cheese is not just something you feed to kids and it does not just come out of a box. It is soul food and it is artisan food. Here, you don’t mess with mac ‘n cheese, and you certainly don’t look down on anyone who orders some when out for dinner. Instead, you smile–because now you too can order mac ‘n cheese without looking like you do not have any taste.Â
So, last weekend my brother and his girlfriend participated in a mac ‘n cheese cook-off party. And they won.Â
They brilliantly started with the “Best Mac ‘N Cheese Ever,” the winner of Emeril’s Mac ‘N Cheese search. You can find that recipe plus a whole bunch more here.Â Then they made a few modifications:
â€¢ use extra, extra sharp cheddar (gives more of a cheesy vs just creamy taste- I found my cheeses at trader joes)
â€¢ cut up bacon into little bits before you cook it (saves fingers from grease burns when attempting to crumble later)
â€¢ we used less gruyere and more cheddar
â€¢ we used about 3/4 of the milk suggested
â€¢ use Japanese Bread Crumbs called Panko (I think they sell them in most grocery stores) rather than hohum western bread crumbs
â€¢ finally, I added cheddar to the topping as well- I like cheddar that much 😉
Ok people…that’s it. Now go and embrace mac ‘n cheese in all of its glory. Don’t laugh–just embrace.