I think mac and cheese has to be up there with my favourite foods of all time, I could eat it every day. Is there anything better than pasta and cheese?, or any pasta for that matter I just love it. I decided to give it a bit of a makeover to suit the holiday season, because if chandler Bing from friends can have mac and cheese on thanksgiving why cant every one?. To make this version extra special I added pureed roasted butternut squash and garlic and some pale ale and whole grain mustard and I topped it with bread crumbs that had roasted chestnuts and rosemary in. my secret weapon with mac and cheese is adding a splash of balsamic vinegar or Worchester sauce into it at the end. This version is not for the faint hearted though as I used heavy cream and whole milk and some cream cheese and a lot of cheddar cheese and beer to make the sauce. but trust me its worth the extra notch on your belt to enjoy a big bowl of it. there are still some left overs in the fridge calling my name. I’m going on holiday to India on Thursday until the 9th of December so I feel like I am in a mad rush to get things organised for Christmas for when I get back, we have decided to rent a little cottage for Christmas eve, Christmas day and boxing day and take the dog on a little break. its going to be weird not being with family on Christmas day but I think it will be nice to be away together as my partner and I haven’t been any where together since we got Archie (our Dalmatian) and he is three now.
- 3 tbsp. butter
- 2 tbsp. corn flour
- 2 cups whole milk (plus more at the end to loosen)
- 1 and half cups heavy cream
- 3/4 cups pale ale
- 1 cup cream cheese (like quark, Philadelphia or ricotta)
- 2 and half cups strong cheddar cheese
- 1 tbsp. whole grain mustard
- 1 tsp English mustard
- half a butternut squash
- 1 spring fresh rosemary
- 1 clove or garlic
- splash of Worchester sauce or balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper
- 3 slices of white bread
- 8 chestnuts
- macaroni pasta 2 cups
preheat the oven to 200c
peel and chop half a large butter squash or a whole small one to make about 2 cups of dice sized chunks then place on a baking tray and drizzle with about 2 tsp oil, chop the garlic clove and sprinkle over with about a tsp of rosemary leaves and some salt and pepper, then on another tray score crosses in each chestnut and place both trays in the oven for 25 minutes. once tender tip the squash into a food processor and puree. remove the shells and the fluffy layer off the chestnuts and set aside. add the pasta into a pan of hot water and cook for about 11 or 12 minutes until al dente.
to make the sauce, melt the butter in a pan and stir in the corn flour to make a paste then add the milk a little at a time, then add the cream and cream cheese and stir. add the ale and let simmer. then add the mustards, pureed squash, the cheddar and season. add a splash of Worchester sauce, then taste it to make sure its got enough seasoning if not add more pour in the pasta and mix. if you want to loosen the sauce a little you can add some more milk at the end.
pour into baking dish
in a clean bowl of the food processor add the bread (crusts removed) , 1 heaped tsp fresh rosemary, and the roasted chestnuts and salt and pepper and pulse until it looks like crumbs then sprinkle on top and grate some more cheddar cheese on top and bake for 30 to 40 minutes.