Autumn Comfort Mac

May 19, 2009


This recipe was adapted from Portlander Veronica Vichit-Vadakan’s first-runner-up recipe.

Serves 4-6


1 butternut squash (approx. 2 lbs), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tbsp olive oil
12 oz cavatappi (hollow corkscrew pasta)
4 oz pancetta, diced
1 shallot, minced
4 tbsp unsalted butter
4 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
½ cup heavy cream
2 cups Tuscan Blend shredded Tillamook Cheese mix
1 tsp ground black pepper
1½ tbsp sage, finely chopped
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled

1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1 tbsp freshly chopped sage leaves
½ cup Tuscan Blend shredded Tillamook Cheese mix

(1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
(2) In a bowl, toss butternut squash pieces with olive oil. Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake 20 minutes, stirring once midway. Remove when squash is tender. Set aside and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
(3) Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add cava-tappi and cook approximately 8 minutes or until al dente. Drain well and set aside.
(4) On the stovetop, cook pancetta in a skillet over medium heat for 6 minutes. Add shallot and cook 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.
(5) In a 2-quart saucepan, melt butter. Add flour and, stirring constantly, cook for approximately 2 minutes, or until golden brown. Add milk and cream slowly, whisking constantly, until smooth. Stir in 2 cups of cheese mix, until melted. Remove from heat. Stir in black pepper and 1 ½ tbsp chopped sage.
(6) Combine cavatappi, cheese sauce and pan-cetta-shallot mixture in a large bowl. Fold in butternut squash and goat cheese. Pour mixture into a buttered 9-x-13-inch baking pan.
(7) Prepare the topping: In a small saucepan, melt butter, turn off heat, then stir in panko, 1 tbsp sage and ½ cup cheese. Sprinkle over pasta. Bake 20-25 minutes, until cheese is bubbling. Brown for 3 minutes under the broiler. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

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