Chipotle Butternut Squash "Mac" and Cheese is a rift on a dish I was responsible for about eight years ago at the restaurant where I met my husband. All I can remember about the dish is roasting twenty pounds of butternut squash at a time and still never having enough for more than two days.
This recipe is version is a great weeknight dinner for the whole family. If you meal prep, you can do the mise en place ahead of time and make dinner that night a breeze. The butternut squash can be roasted and held cold, covered in the refrigerator days before you make the sauce. You can also grate the cheese, dice the shallots and make the crumble a head of time.
For a great cheese sauce, you start with a roux. A roux thickens your sauce and adds depth of flavor. The longer you cook your roux, the less it thickens but, the deeper the flavor gets; think about the deep color and flavor of a great gumbo. When making a roux for your cheese sauce, you are looking for a blonde roux. A blonde roux has a caramel color and nutty aroma. If making a large batch of roux, it takes about ten minutes, but it will happen faster for this recipe.
Chipotle Butternut Squash "Mac" and Cheese
50 minutes minutes
Chipotle Butternut Squash "Mac" and Cheese is a great week night meal that can make the entire family happy. If you have a child or any one that is sensitive to heat you can make the sauce without the chipotles, pull their serving to the side and then add the chipotle to the remaining sauce.
.5 large Butternut Squash
2 Cups Cheddar Cheese
2 Cups Whole Milk
6 Tbl Spoon Unsalted Butter
2 Tbl Spoon AP Flour
2 ea Shallot
.5 cup cheddar cheese fish crackers or cheese its
2 Tbl Spoons of Chipotle in Adobe Sauce
12 oz Addie's Animals
2 tbl chiffonade chives
to tast salt
Gather all ingredients.
Turn oven to 400 F. Cut Butternut Squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Brush one tablespoon of grapeseed oil and a pinch of salt on squash and roast for 45 minutes. This time will vary depending on the size of the squash. Check after 20 minutes; it is ready when it is for tender. Once roasted, remove from the oven and put it to the side.
Fill a large pot with water, salt generously, and put over high heat. Remove the skin of the shallot and small dice. Blend Chipotles in Adobe in a blender to smooth sauce. Cut butter into one tablespoon-sized chunk. Shred cheddar cheese with a cheese grater.
Once the butternut squash is cool, remove from skin with a spoon and mash. It should quickly turn into a smooth thick puree.
Process crackers in the food processor into a crumble. Melt two tablespoons of butter in a small saute pan. Add cracker crumble and toast over medium heat until it darkens in color. Remove from pan and cool on a paper towel.
Once water is boiling, add pasta and cook according to directions on the box.
In a large saute pan over medium heat, add the remaining butter and shallots. Once butter melts, turn to heat to low and sweat the shallots for a minute. Once shallots are translucent, whisk the flour in and return heat to medium. Using a heat resistant spatula, continuously scrape the pan's bottom and sides to keep the roux from burning. When the roux darkens in color to amber and smells nutty, you are ready to add the milk. Slowly whisk in the milk a little at a time. (You may have to add a little extra milk or pasta water to make the sauce the right viscosity.)
Whisk in cheddar, squash, and chipotle. Add cook pasta and season to taste. Garnish with cracker crumble and chives.