When I'm at the grocery store, I'm always on the lookout for whatever fruits and veggies are on sale. This time I spotted big, beautiful butternut squash. They only had monster sized ones, so I got the produce department to split one in half for me. (Did you know you can ask and they'll do that for you? They usually will. That way you're not stuck with way more than you need.)
It wasn't on my list, so I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it, but I just had to have it. I'd figure out the details later. If you're going to impulse buy, I'd say vegetables are a good choice to splurge on! Better than the bag of chips that was taunting me a few aisles over. Ha!
So, it sat in my fridge for a few days. I kept eyeing it and contemplated what I would make. Should it be soup? Or maybe oven roasted with herbs. Perhaps a simple mash. I just couldn't decide.
Then it hit me. Mac and cheese. I had seen it done before, but had never tried it myself. But, I couldn't call it mac and cheese and serve it to my husband. He's a creature of habit and would argue that what I was serving was definitely not mac and cheese if there was butternut squash in it.
That's when the creative juices started flowing. I'd add beef. That would work. He loves meat. It would take it out of the realm of mac and cheese and into a whole different category. Problem solved...but, would it work? Would it taste good? It was worth a shot. I was going for it.
So was born my Cheesy Beef & Butternut Squash Pasta Bake. It was good. Uniquely different, rich, hearty and fabulously good. Win!
- 4 cups cubed butternut squash (1 small or ½ of a large one)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1¾ cups milk, divided
- 2 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 lb ground beef
- 10 oz elbow macaroni (or whatever kind of pasta you have on hand)
- 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- This would be and equally excellent vegetarian dish if you omit the ground beef.
- Source: Inspired by Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese from Two Peas & Their Pod.
- Shared over at Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen for Manic Monday Link Party.