Baked Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese
Active Time: 40 minutes | Total Time: 55 minutes | Serves 6 | Vegan
- For the macaroni and cheese
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for pasta water and to taste
- 1 pound short pasta, such as cavatappi or small shells
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4½ cups plant-based milk, such as cashew
- 1 cup butternut squash puree
- 3 cups shredded plant-based cheddar cheese (We like Violife)
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- For the crust breadcrumb topping
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for serving
Position the oven rack about 8 inches from the top and heat the oven to 400°F.
For the macaroni and cheese: Fill a large pot with water 1 inch from the top and place over high heat. Let come to a boil and season with salt. Add the pasta and cook until it’s a few minutes short of al dente (it will continue to cook in the oven). Drain into a colander and pass under cold running water to stop the cooking. Shake out excess water.
Meanwhile, to make the cheese sauce, in a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the flour and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon, to cook out the raw flavor of the flour. Add 1 cup of the milk and whisk until it forms a smooth paste. Continue to whisk in the remaining milk a little at a time, at first, to avoid lumps. Let the mixture reach a simmer while whisking often, paying attention to the corners where the flour can collect.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the squash puree. Add the cheese, nutritional yeast, ½ teaspoon salt, the black pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper. Whisk until creamy and smooth.
Add the pasta to the pot and stir well to coat. Taste for salt; you may want to add a little more. Scrape the mixture into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
For the breadcrumb topping, in a small bowl stir together the breadcrumbs, oil, salt, and pepper. Grate in the garlic and stir to combine.
Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the macaroni and cheese. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling. Then turn on the broiler and broil for 1 to 3 minutes, until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving and sprinkle the top with the parsley.
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