A superior macaroni and cheese recipe that is so good it might just become a family tradition.
Prep Time:30 mins
Cook Time:30 mins
Total Time:1 hour
1 delicata squash
2 tsp olive oil, divided
2 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, divided
salt & pepper
1 lb dry pasta
4 Tbsp. butter
½ white onion, diced
4 Tbsp. flour
4 cups hot milk
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
1 small bay leaf
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 lb shredded Tillamook Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/2 lb shredded Tillamook Extra Sharp White Cheddar Cheese
1 cup dry breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 425 F and line a baking sheet with foil.
Cut the squash lengthwise, scrape out the seeds, and then cut into 1/3” thick crescents. Toss with 1 tsp olive oil, ½ tsp smoked paprika, and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. Spread evenly on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. The squash won’t be completely cooked after 10 minutes, but that’s okay!
In a large pot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, then rinse, toss with the remaining 1 tsp olive oil, and set aside.
To make the sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepot. Add the onion and remaining 2 tsp smoked paprika. Cook for 3 minutes before adding the flour. Whisk constantly, taking care not to burn the roux. After two minutes, add the hot milk all at once and whisk vigorously until smooth.
Add the thyme and bay leaf. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking often, and let simmer for 15 minutes. It will thicken somewhat. After fifteen minutes, add the nutmeg, and another ½ tsp or so (to taste) each of salt & pepper. Remove the bay leaf.
Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the cheeses until fully melted and smooth.
Combine the sauce and the pasta, and gently fold in the squash. Pour into a 9×13 baking dish, or smaller oven-safe dishes for individual servings. Top generously with dry breadcrumbs, and bake at 350F for 20 minutes. The top should be turning golden!