"The wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings. Let food be your medicine."
- Hippocrates

December 13, 2011

Roasted Squash and Macaroni Casserole

Every summer our family is lucky enough to benefit from my in-laws' plentiful garden. Almost every visit from them in the late summer weeks includes handfuls of fresh produce like garlic, onions and tomatoes! But what we all look forward to the most is their late Fall offerings of Hubbard Squash! If you haven't tried this type of squash you're missing out! It's so smooth and creamy and you'd swear it's drenched in butter...but it's not!

Anyway, I wanted to do something different with them this year, rather than eating them mashed or in a soup like we usually do. I found this recipe on one of my favorite Iphone apps - the Whole Foods Recipe app (you can access this service online as well here). You tell them what you have on hand and they find a recipe for you! This one looked so good I had to try it...and it was such a hit that I've made it several times since.

The recipe calls for butternut squash, but I used my Hubbard. I just roasted the whole thing and scooped out the cooked squash as needed. You could also used can pumpkin here too (be careful not to pick up the pie filling). I also added a bit of frozen chopped kale for some extra nutrition...I imagine any greens would work, or even chopped broccoli or peas.

The final product is creamy and filling, and the walnuts add a really wonderful delicate crunch. This recipe is the perfect comfort food and a fantastic substitute for traditional mac and cheese. It would be welcomed at any potluck and therefore great for the holiday season as well!

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 pounds or 3.5-4 cups mashed)
1 (15-ounce) can coconut milk (light or regular)
3/4 tsp salt
Black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp dried sage
3/4 pound dried elbow macaroni, Penne or other small pasta (454g box minus about a handful)
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1-2 handfuls frozen chopped kale (or other greens) (optional)
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

To roast the squash, preheat oven to 400°F. Roast diced squash for 25-40 minutes until fork tender. If you're roasting a whole squash cut in half you'll have to roast it for at least an hour...timing depends on how large and thick your squash is. Once cooked, mash roasted squash, leaving some chunks.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a 9x13-inch casserole dish; set aside.

Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add roasted squash, coconut milk, salt and pepper and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in sage and kale and simmer 5 minute more. (This part can be made ahead, up to 1 day in advance.)

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until tender but still firm, about 8 minutes. Rinse in cold water, drain well and transfer to a large bowl. Transfer squash mixture to bowl with macaroni. Add walnuts, salt and pepper and toss to combine. Transfer to prepared dish and top with bread crumbs. Bake until just golden brown and hot throughout, about 30 minutes.


This recipe is from Whole Foods Recipe index at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes