How is it when the day is one of those thats not quite a "bad" day, but definitely not a "good" day, somehow the food sample fairy always seems to know, and visits me? It's happened a few times now, and today was no exception! The day started out fine, but it never really got light out. It rained most of the day. Adam came to work with me to get some of his observation hours in, so THAT was great, and we sent our passports in to be renewed, and THAT was great. But, when it's rainy out, it just puts a tone on the day.
So anyway, we got home and there was a large and quite heavy package on our doorstep. Upon opening it, I found that when Sally from Newman's Own Organics says they're sending samples, they really mean they're sending two weeks worth of snacks and treats! Check this out:
- 1 pound macaroni with lines, such as tubatini or mini penne rigate
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
- 2 tablespoons butter (eliminated)
- 1/2 medium onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus a few sprigs for garnish (I used dried)
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 (10 ounce) box frozen cooked butter nut squash, defrosted (I used fresh roasted)
- 1 cup cream or half-and-half (I used fat free half-and-half)
- 2 cups (8 ounces) sharp Cheddar, grated (reduced fat)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a couple of handfuls
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, eyeball it (eliminated)
- Black pepper
Heat a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Salt the water then add the pasta and cook to al dente or, with a bite to it.
While pasta cooks, heat a medium heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the extra-virgin olive oil and butter. When the butter melts into the oil, add the thyme and grate the onion directly into the pot with a hand held grater or Microplane. Cook the grated onion in butter and oil 1 to 2 minutes, then add flour and cook together 1 to 2 more minutes. Whisk in stock, then combine with butternut squash until warmed through and smooth. Stir in cream or half-and-half and bring sauce to a bubble. Stir in cheeses in a figure 8 motion and season the completed sauce with salt, nutmeg and pepper. Taste to adjust seasonings. Drain pasta well and combine with sauce.
So normally, I'm not a Rachael Ray fan. I turn off her shows on TV. I can't stand the words "sammie" or "yum-o" and I even stopped using the term EVOO when I found out it was "hers". But I have to say... the last 5 or 6 recipes that have inspired my dinners have been hers! So I might not be one to be cutesy in the kitchen (quite the opposite, I'm usually kind of crazy and very messy), I do LOVE her recipes... so thanks Rachael!
I would HIGHLY recommend this recipe. Like, its on my top twenty ever recipes. I loved the sweetness of the squash with the cheese and the thyme... it was rich-tasting and satisfying, yet still full of veggies and lower fat than any other super-creamy mac and cheese!
Have a wonderful Friday!