Thursday, October 28, 2010

wherever you are, here you go

I'm just going to take a guess here: Either you have distinctly crisp fall weather and a bin full of the last straggling zucchini, or you have bright, warm Indian summer and markets full of winter squash. Call it Cucurbit-Induced Cognitive Dissonance: a condition endemic this time of year.

Well, I have a remedy.


First, turn on your oven. Gather up some squash of whatever variety (I suppose you could even mix summer and winter), cut them into chunks, and roast them with butter. That bit is important, there's just something about the way the flavor of squash marries with butter, trust me. When those squash chunks are nice and soft toss them into a casserole dish along with some pasta and a simple cheese sauce.

The dish is an adaptation of a recipe for macaroni and cheese with butternut squash that has been round and round the Internet several times but I'm pretty sure originated here. My version simply swaps out the winter squash for summer (but of course, you can swap the winter squash back in). And, because I couldn't find my printed recipe when it was time to cook (I recently organized my recipes, and now I can't find any of them), I just worked from memory, and I may have ended up making it a little less...unctuous...than the original.

Which is a good thing, really. Because you're going to have to make this more than once, with all the squash out there of one sort or another.

Cheesy Noodles with Roasted Squash
Adapted from My Madeleine

2.5 lb summer squash (or about 3 lb winter squash, untrimmed)
4 Tbsp butter
salt & pepper

1 lb shaped pasta

2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
2 C milk
12 oz cheese, grated (a nice sharp cheddar is good but feel free to mix it up and use what you have on hand)
1 Tbsp dijon mustard

Panko or other bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400 F. Wash and trim the squash (deseed and peel if it's winter squash), and cut it into roughly 1-inch chunks. In each of 2 large baking pans, put 2 Tbsp butter, and put the pans in the oven to melt the butter while the oven is preheating.

When the butter is melted, take the pans out of the oven, put half of the squash in each, add a little salt and pepper, and stir to coat with the melted butter.

Roast for 40 minutes, stirring at the 15- and 30-minute marks.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling water until al dente.

And make the cheese sauce: Melt the butter over medium heat, add the flower, and stir with a whisk to make a light roux. Pour in the milk and whisk until smooth and slightly thickened. Add the cheese and stir until melted, then add the mustard and stir until combined.

Combine the pasta, cheese sauce, and roasted squash (the pot you cooked the pasta in is generally good for this) and fold together until everything is evenly distributed. Turn into one of the baking dishes. Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top.

Bake at 400 F for 20 to 30 minutes, until bubbly. Run under the broiler for a minute or two at the end to toast the bread crumbs.

Makes one big pan (so, you know, like 2 servings).

Saturday, October 9, 2010

this weekend

Give me your tired....

your poor...

your huddled masses of green tomatoes....

yearning to turn red.

-Roasting the red ones
-Blanching the kale
-Wishing I'd planted some seeds back in August
-The rains are here
-Saturday afternoon beer?