Inspired by a recipe I saw on Whole Foods website, I finally used the butternut squash that was “decorating” the top of my microwave…or rather collecting dust the past few months. I have an issue with buying winter squash and then letting it sit there (till it later decorates my compost bin….). Why I feel the need to bring them home is beyond me. So I am proud to say this baby got used and used in the best ever drool inspiring comfort food (that is actually freaking good for you). This casserole feels like you are eating a sinful, full of fat mac n’ cheese. The kind of dish that doesn’t taste, look or smell like vegan food. And more so…the butternut squash is tamed in it. It can easily over power other foods, but using it in a sauce leaves it mellow.
Try it. Please. You will love it. Kids will love it. Your anti-veggie family will love it. Don’t tell them it is vegan though. Well, till they are done eating. Hah!
My idea of pureeing the vegetables was the clincher. What would have been a weirdly textured casserole became a creamy dish. Take the time to purée it. It does miracles for the butternut. As well, thinner almond milk works fine since it is blended. I have found that WF recipes need to be tweaked a bit and then work well.
Butternut & Sage Mac
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow or sweet onion, finely sliced and chopped
- 1 butternut squash, 2 to 3 pounds
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- ¼ tsp each fine sea salt and ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage leaves
- 12 to 13.25 ounces whole grain or whole wheat elbow macaroni
- ½ cup finely chopped raw walnuts
- ½ cup fine fresh bread crumbs
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 350°, lightly oil a 9×13″ glass baking dish with olive oil.
Heat a deep medium size saucepan over medium, add the oil and onion. Saute for 7 minutes or till softened.
Peel the butternut, cut in half vertically, remove seeds and strings with a spoon, then chop into small pieces.
Add squash, almond milk, salt and pepper, bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat tp medium-low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add sage, cook for another minute.
Take off the heat and blend with an immersion blender till smooth.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil, cook pasta till al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water. Mix the pasta and sauce, spread in the prepared dish.
Mix the walnuts, bread crumbs, oil and seasoning together, sprinkle evenly over the pasta.
Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
Serves 4 to 6.