Friday, January 25, 2013

Mac & Squash - A Creamy Pasta with Roasted Squash


A lot of kids here live on the traditional American Mac and Cheese. Its nothing but macroni (pasta) in a cheese sauce. Its rich and heavy and more of a junk food than an Italian entree. I have always wanted to make a healthier version of the Mac and Cheese and what better choice than the nutrient rich yellow squash. The kids cannot figure out the vegetable and would love the rich and creamy taste. Just think of it as Mac and Cheese with more character :-).

 I had some squash leftover after making "poosanikkai sambar" for the Pongal festival last week. If you are in India, then squash is nothing but yellow pumpkin ("manjal poosanikkai). This is a simple recipe made with just roasted squash. You can use any type of pasta but it goes well with macroni or penne as these shapes can hold the sauce well.

MACRONI IN A ROASTED SQUASH SAUCE



























Ingredients:

1/4 kg of Squash
1 cup of uncooked pasta (macroni or penne)
3 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup Milk (I have used full cream)
1 teaspoon Red Chilly powder or paprika
1/2 teaspoon Parsley flakes for garnishing (optional)
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
salt to taste




























Method:

1. Wash and cut the squash into thick slices without the skin.
2. Heat butter in a pan and  gently roast the slices until they brown a little and turn soft.
3. Remove from heat, cool and blend into a smooth paste.
4. While the squash is cooling, cook pasta as per package instructions. (heat a pot of water until boiling. Add a teaspoon of salt and pasta along with a teaspoon of olive oil and cook till its soft but not squishy or sticky. It should be of the texture popularly known as "al dente" or to be firm but not hard).
5. In the same pan used for roasting, heat the remaining butter. Add the minced garlic and mix well.
6. Add the squash paste with a little water (you can use the water used for cooking pasta) and heat gently.
7. Add the chilly / paprika powder and salt and mix well
8. Add the milk and continue heating gently.
9. Add the cooked pasta and mix well. Heat until the pasta is well coated with salt. If you find the dish getting dry/thick, add some more water or milk.
10. Taste and adjust salt.
11. Garnish with parsley or chilli flakes.
12. Serve hot with garlic bread.



























Notes:

1. Grated Cheese can be used for garnishing.
2. Adjust the milk to build the right consistency for the pasta.
3. You can substitute cream instead of the milk but that would make the dish very rich.
4.  You can carrots while roasting for a different twist.
5. For an Indianized verison, add a pinch of garam masala along with the red chilly powder.



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