Today at Supergolden Bakes we have a mac & cheese / Halloween mash up! Mac and cheese may be my favourite comfort food - one I don't tend to make very often as it tends to be quite calorific. Combining squash and mac & cheese is a classic - and the sneaky way I used to get my toddlers to eat some veg!
This is a souped up, decidedly adult Mac & Cheese containing ripe reblochon cheese which is very rich and creamy (replace with taleggio, fontina, raclette or a ripe camembert if you can't find it). Some finely chopped pancetta would also go really well but I wanted to keep the recipe vegetarian. If you want to add some, pan fry it together with the mushrooms before adding to the cheese sauce.
You can always use your favourite Mac & Cheese recipe and use it to stuff the squash - it makes a very pretty serving platter for the dish and would be perfect served at a Halloween party.
For the squash
Serves 1-2 (it is very rich)
1 Harlequin squash or other medium sized squash (at least 10cm/4inch high/wide)
120ml | 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp unsalted butter
For the mac and cheese
25g | 2 tbsp unsalted butter
25g | 4 tbsp plain flour
60ml | 1/4 white wine
250ml | 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1 tsp English mustard
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper
60ml | 1/4 cup whole milk (more if sauce is too thick)
Pinch grated nutmeg
60g | 2 oz Reblochon cheese, cubed
60g | 2 oz Gruyere cheese, grated (or Parmesan)
5 tbsp porcini mushrooms (either fresh or rehydrated dry ones)
3 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 tbsp finely chopped sage (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
450g | 15.8 oz pasta shapes (I used spirals) cooked according to instructions.
Preheat the oven to 180C | 350F.
If you are using a Harlequin squash you will need to cut the bottom so that it sits level. Cut the top and set aside. Cut into the squash so that you can remove the seeds and clean cavity. Rub olive oil inside the squash and season with salt and pepper.
Pour the stock into a small rimmed baking tray and place the squash cut side down on it. Cover the top with a foil hat. Cover entire squash lid with foil. Place the tray in the centre of the oven and the lid next to it directly on oven shelf.
Bake for 40-45 minutes (depending on size of squash) but check halfway through to see if stock needs topping up. Once the squash is cooked and tender inside carefully remove most of the flesh from the sides. Make sure you don't go too close to the squash 'walls'. Place the squash in a bowl and mash with the butter.
To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add the flour and stir. Gradually add the wine and stock stirring continuously until you have a smooth sauce. Simmer until it thickens slightly and then add the cream, cheese, squash mash and seasonings. Stir together to combine and take off the heat. Check the seasoning.
Finely chop the mushrooms and then pan fry for 5 minutes with a tbsp of butter. Add them to the cheese sauce and stir. Tip the cooked pasta and chopped herbs in the sauce and mix together thoroughly. If the sauce is too thick, then thin it with a bit of whole milk or cream - you don't want it to be too dry as it will bake in the oven.
Carefully fill the squash cavity with as much of the mac and cheese as you can (there maybe be some leftover). Cover the top with foil and bake for 20 minutes (at 180C | 350F). Uncover and bake for another 5 minutes. Top with freshly grated cheese and herbs and serve once it has cooled slightly.