Butternut Mac and Cheese: a healthier, more nutritious and extra flavourful take on the traditional mac and cheese.
Preheat the oven to 220ºC.
Peel and slice the butternut squash lengthwide. Scoop out the seeds and chop into equal-sized cubes (2-3 cm length). Bake over baking paper or a silicone sheet for 20 mins or until soft. In the meantime...
Let's make the béchamel sauce. Heat up a pan to medium heat, add the butter or oil and the chopped onion. Sauté until golden and slightly caramelise. Add the fresh thyhme leaves here.
Add the flour and mix well until it becomes a thick paste.
Gradually and slowly, add the milk while you keep stirring with a wooden spoon or a spatula. Once you've poured in all the milk, allow it to cook until the sauce becomes smooth and dense. Turn off the heat.
At some point during the preparation, start getting your pasta ready: boil it, strain it and add 1 tsp olive oil so it doesn't stick together. Set aside for later.
When the butternut squash is tender and soft... Pour the sauce into a tall container. Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg, along with the roasted butternut squash (only the desired amount, save the rest for another recipe).
Blend until smooth, return the now orange sauce to the pan, heat it up for 1 minute then add the cheese and turn off the heat. Allow the cheese to melt slowly and stir it in so it blends in with the sauce.
Add the pasta to the pan and mix well. Serve immediately with a grated hard cheese on the side and freshly ground black pepper.
How to store leftovers