First, I would like to say these are my two favorite savory recipes using squash. Comforting Mac and Cheese prepared with simplicity, uniqueness and flavor in mind. The thought of the natural goodness of a Yankee staple swimming in a pool of cheese is too good to keep to myself.
The second thought I would like to share with everyone is a particular Maine-made product that truly should be known around the globe. Now mamny of you will think that I am writing the following because it is a Maine company, and has been since the first Yankee Chef, my grandfather Samuel Bailey, but this is not the case. Although Raye's Mustard, of Eastport, Maine was started by J. Wesley Raye in his family smokehouse wayyy back in 1900 for the sole purpose of adding spice to Maine, canned sardines(with my favorite being Bar Harbor® Sardines, as mentioned in the previous post), this company has stretched its' arms much further than the local arena. It was in the ring with some of the best mustards in the world during the World Mustard Competition at Napa Valley, California and won the gold medal. I am giving you links to to this company because you will be amazed at the variety and competitive cost of these fantastic mustards.
Want a mustard for a salad? Beef? Pork? Anything? You can find it here. In the meantime, allow me to show you just one example of the goodness this flavored mustard adds to my 'go-to' dinner for those days when a break or 'me-time' is needed.
Yanked™ Macaroni and Cheese
If I were to choose a last meal, this would be it. The golden taste of squash mixed into Macaroni and Cheese is fillling, satisfying and so decadently satiating. This is a perfect recipe for those leftover bowls of mashed squash after Thanksgiving as well. If youi would like thinner Macaroni and Cheese, or simply would rather have less squash flavor, use half the squash listed. Just make sure you try this spectacular combination with the mustard below, or find a Dijon-style mustard of equal quality(good luck with that one).
1 acorn squash, about 1 1/4 pounds, halved and seeded
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
3 tablespoons minced onion
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, divided
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups milk
6 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
6 ounces shredded Gruyere cheese
2 teaspoons Raye's Old World Gourmet Mustard*
3/4 pound(3 cups) elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Place squash on a baking pan, cut side up. Brush with 1 tablespoon melted butter and sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until soft to the touch. Remove from oven to cool so they can be handled. Scopp out flresh and mash, roughly, with a fork; set aside.
In a large, 2-quart saucepan, melt remaining butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until very soft, about 3 minutes, stirring ocassionally. Add flour and whisk until smooth. Add the milk and continue to cook, stirring almost constantly, until it is scalding and thickened, about 5-7 minutes. Add the cheeses and mustard, continuing to stir until the cheese has melted, about another 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the squash. Fold in the cooked macaroni and serve while hot.
*If you are unable to find this mustard(which would be a shame) you can order it online at http://rayesmustard.com/collections/mustard/products/old-world-gourmet-mustard, or subsitute a Dijon-style mustard of your choice(which, again, would be a shame).
Creamy Acorn Mac and Cheese
Don't wait until the Holidays to enjoy the comforting taste of acorn squash. And nothing says comfort quite like Mac and Cheese, especially when pared with squash. This is truly a taste of its own.
2 acorn squashes, about 1 1/4 pounds each.
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablesoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspon dry mustard
2 cups milk
4 ounces Cheddar cheese
4 ounces American cheese, cubed or sliced
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups(1/2 pound) dried macaroni, cooked and drained
1/2 cup dried, unseasoned bread crumbs
2-3 tablespoons maple syrup
Cut each squash in half vertically. Scioop out seeds and place on either a baking pan or onto the cups of a regular muffin tin. this will hold them very stable. With a sharp, pointed steak knife, run it around the wall of each squash, being careful not to puncture the skin. This loosens the flesh so that it will be much easier to eat. Sprinkle each with garlic powder.
In a large saucpan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and dried mustard until smooth. Add the milk, whisking until smooth. Continue cooking and whisking almost constantly until the milk has thickened,. about 3-4 minutes. Add cheeses, hot sauce and pepper, reducing temperature to low. Stir unitl the cheese has melted completely. Remove from heat and carefully add the cooked macaroni, stirring to blend well.
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Toss the bread crumbs with enough maple syrup to moisten all of crumbs; set aside. Evenly divide the prepared mac and cheese among the halved acorn squash. Top with equal amounts of sweetened bread curmbs and bake for 30 minutes, or until the squash is just tender. Remove to cool slightly before serving hot.