This is hand’s down the best Mac & Cheese I’ve ever made – it’s rich, comfort food at its absolute best. I wanted to use up some beautiful little squashes that I got in my farm box last week, and also a packet of Serrano Ham that my mom smuggled in from England.
I made huge batch so I could freeze half of it - it’s the perfect cozy dish to offer guests who have just flown in for the holidays. At this time of year I start stockpiling one-pot dinners that I can pull out when we get back from all events that are scattered over the Holiday season.
I will warn you that I didn’t skimp on the fat in this dish, but honestly, if you want to knock the socks off your family and friends, you really need to include all the rich ingredients – not a vegan-friendly dish! If you are vegetarian, just skip the ham and it’ll still be outstanding.
GOURMET MAC & CHEESE
Serves 8 or split into 2 serving dishes for 4 people
1 small butternut squash or 3 small squashes (you want to end up with about 2 cups of peeled, cubed and de-seeded squash). If you’re using Butternut you’ll have to peel, but I didn’t bother with my little yellow squashes. If you have the choice – go with Butternut, as it’s creamier.
Grated zest of 1 lemon and juice of 1/2 the lemon
2oz all-purpose flour
1tbsp dijon mustard
1tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
4 cups whole milk
Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
1 16oz package whole wheat macaroni
6oz gruyere cheese, grated (save some for topping)
10 slices Serrano or Prosciutto ham (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F
Spread the squash on a baking sheet and drizzle with the oil. Massage the oil well into each cube. Season, sprinkle with the lemon zest,
and place on the top rack for 25 minutes or until tender when a knife is inserted. Remove from oven and set aside.
Turn down your oven to 350 degrees F
Heat the butter in a large, heavy saucepan and add the flour. Mix and allow the mixture to bubble. Add the mustard, milk, mascarpone and simmer for 8 minutes, stirring all the time. Add the mustard, lemon juice and most of the cheese (keep a couple of handfuls back for topping.)
Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to the boil. Cook the macaroni according to package directions until al dente, drain and place in a large mixing bow.
Add the white sauce, the roasted squash and finally tear the ham into little pieces and fold in.
Spoon into a large (or two) baking dish, and place in the over for 25 minutes or until bubbling and crispy on top.
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt & Pepper