A superior macaroni and cheese recipe that is so good it might just become a family tradition.
- 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!
- Serve immediately.