I am nursing a burnt lip right now. It’s not anything that would send me to the hospital, but it stings a bit. But please understand I am not looking for sympathy. I deserve this. It’s karma. K was out for the evening and it’s a rare event to find myself alone in the kitchen. With no one around, I caved. I cooked pasta. It seemed too easy. The package called out from the cupboard and lured me into a quick meal.
So intent was I on eating the forbidden fruit that I popped a noodle into my mouth without noticing it was glistening with boiling water.
I won’t lie. This was not smart and, of course, it hurt. However, I am choosing to look at this minor injury as a reminder. I must be patient. I must be patient with my diet restrictions during the home stretch before the arrival of my little bun. It’s worth it. I know it is.
Again, I pledge to steer clear of carbohydrate temptations for the time being. I can do it. However, I do not recommend this for everyone. You should absolutely take a different path. Yours will be a path paved with buttery noodles and pizza. Do it for me. Enjoy yourself. Fall is the perfect time for such things. As the weather cools, bread and large plates of starch seem abundantly appropriate. They hit the spot and warm you up from your head right down to your dainty toes.
In this spirit, I am sharing a recipe for macaroni and cheese. It’s not your traditional macaroni and cheese, but it’s a fabulous autumnal twist on the old classic. Don’t worry. I didn’t go so far as to bake this for myself this week, but it’s something appropriate for the season that is worth sharing with all of you.
And, if you enjoy acorn squash, I think you’ll like the earthy quality it adds to the classic macaroni and cheese. Moreover, it’s a decent method for hiding squash. A child might overlook the squash and only have eyes for the cheesy mass of noodles. I am hopeful this is the case, at least. Let me know. Eat. Enjoy. And promise to blow on your steamy forkful before you inhale this acorn squash macaroni and cheese.
Roasted Acorn Squash Macaroni and Cheese
1 lb. rigatoni (penne, or elbows)
1 lb acorn squash
4 cups lowfat organic milk
6 tblsp. flour
5 tblsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp. smoked paprika
kosher salt, sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
8 oz. aged white cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the acorn squash into 2 halves. Remove the seeds and membrane. Divide 1 tablespoon of the butter and set inside each cavity. Rub the cavities with a spot of sea salt and place into the oven to roast for about 45 minutes or until tender.
Remove the squash from the oven. Set aside to cool. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees.
Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook at a rolling boil until just tender. Drain. Rinse. Set aside.
Chop the squash into bite size pieces being careful to avoid any skin.
Bring the milk to just a boil in a heavy saucepan. Set aside.
Melt the butter in another pan. Add the flour and whisk over low heat for about 5 minutes. Do not brown. Remove from the heat.
Add the butter mixture to the milk and whisk well to get rid of lumps. Add 1/2 tsp of paprika. Season with salt and pepper. Return to heat. Cook the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly until it’s smooth and it thickens, about 5 minutes.
Add milk mixture to the pasta and coat. Mix in squash pieces as well. Pour into a 9 x 12 baking dish. Spread the grated cheese over the top of the pasta mixture. Sprinkle the top with the remaining paprika.
Bake for 25 minutes. Then, place the dish under the broiler (about 4 inches away from heat) and cook for another 3-4 minutes until slightly golden.