I know I’ve been like omgidontwantsummertoend but I am finally ready for fall. I’ve been loving these chilly nights and I am starting to be in full squash/pumpkin/cinnamon/apple/kale/soup/insertotherfallfoodhere mood. Cooking seasonally is always so much fun. I absolutely love all the fresh summer produce, peaches, corn, heirloom tomatoes, etc., but I definitely have a soft spot for fall. It’s such a beautiful season and I associate it with so many good things. My birthday is in November, and I’ve always just really enjoyed the season since I was little. Today I am bringing you this lightened up fall comfort food which has alllll the creaminess you’d ever want in a mac and cheese, minus a lot of the fat and calories that your typical mac would have.
This butternut squash pureé is really something else. I couldn’t help but to sneak a few spoonfuls of it while making this. It would be delicious to serve some seared scallops over it or just eat it as a side dish.
What I love about this is dish is the richness and comfort you get from the butternut squash. I roasted it in the oven at a high temp with shallots so they got all caramelized and golden, and then pureéd it in the food processor till it was perfectly smooth. I then made the cheesy sauce by adding whole milk and cheddar and mascarpone to the pureé. I love adding mascarpone to my pastas. It is basically an Italian cream cheese which melts beautifully into sauces. The prosciutto and sage add an amazing flavor dimension to the pasta. This is really a perfect meal to add to your fall comfort food repertoire.
1 lb. orecchiette pasta or other short-cut pasta
1 1/2 lbs. cubed butternut squash (I cut mine into 1” chunks)
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 T. olive oil + 2 tsp.
4 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
1 1/2 c. milk
2 c. freshly grated cheddar cheese (I used a medium cheddar but you can use mild or sharp too)
4 oz. mascarpone cheese
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cayenne pepper
2 T. chopped fresh sage
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 425℉. Toss cubed butternut squash and shallot with 2 T. olive oil, salt, and pepper on a large baking sheet. Roast for about 20 minutes, tossing a couple times during cooking. You want the squash to be tender and golden. Let cool slightly.
In the meantime, you can cook the pasta according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Sauté prosciutto for 2-3 minutes, then raise the heat to medium/high, and cook for another 5 minutes or so until it is slightly golden and crispy. Drain on a paper towel and set aside. Pasta should be done at this point, but taste test and drain.
Now, add the butternut squash and shallots to a food processor or blender. Pureé until smooth. You might need to add a splash of milk to get it going. Add the butternut pureé, milk, nutmeg, cayenne, and additional salt and pepper to a large pot and heat over medium heat, whisking until smooth, for 2-3 minutes. When heated through, remove from heat and stir in cheeses. Add pasta back into pot and fold in prosciutto and chopped sage. Serve right away.
So creamy and luxurious.