Mac N' Cheese with Kale & Butternut Squash
This is comfort food and easy family cooking at its best. Once you have mastered the cheesy sauce you can experiment with different fillings and combos: I love adding a handful of roasted butternut squash. You can make the Mac N Cheese ahead too, and then warm it through quickly in a hot oven; so it works well for dinner at the end of a busy day. Once you have made this: you’ll find you make it again and again, I hope it will become a family favourite at your table too.
250g roasted butternut squash, peeled and cubed (remove seeds)
50-75g kale, leaves only woody stalks removed
1 tablespoon flour (20g)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (20g)
300ml organic milk, at room temp
80g pasteurised cheddar, reserving a little for the topping
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, optional
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
prep time 20 mins ~ cooking time 15-20 mins
Preheat the oven to 180C-190C fan.
Toss the butternut squash in 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, spread evenly on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes until tender and starting to caramelise.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to its instructions, less 2-3 mins of cooking time. Add the kale to the cooking pasta water, for the last 1/2 minute of cooking, to blanche the kale. Then drain the pasta and kale together and set aside.
To make the cheese sauce: take a saucepan and melt the butter over a low heat, add the flour and stir until you have a thick paste. Slowly add the milk, stirring continually. As the sauce thickens add a little more milk, until all the milk is combined and you have a lovely white sauce.
Take off the heat and stir in the cheese (save a little for the tops of the pots. I also add 1/2 teaspoon of mustard for flavour and a little black pepper, this is optional. Add the pasta, kale and roasted butternut squash to the cheese sauce, then combine.
Divide the mixture between ramekins, or empty into one large oven dish. Top with the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs (for a crunchy topping).
Bake in the oven for 15-20 mins until bubbling, remove and allow to stand, serve warm from the oven.