Updated: Jan 11
Ambercup Squash puree incorporates to the cheesy béchamel adding another layer of creaminess and nutty notes of flavour. Crunchy seeds and panko breadcrumbs breakthrough delicacy of the sauce making it more fulfilling. The recipe can be baked or eaten once pasta gets mixed with the béchamel depending on your preference.
What squash to use?
I was lucky to lay my hands on a variety of squashes thanks to some amazing people. For this recipe, I picked Ambercup squash as its roasted flesh is super creamy.
You can use any other squash like Butternut, Acorn, Crown prince, Carnival and super sweet Japanese Kabocha. They will give you slightly different results but this is the fun in cooking and experimentation!
Ingredients for 4 portions:
half of the medium squash with the skin, seeds removed and cut into four pieces.
250g (8.8oz) macaroni pasta, cooked as instructed on the packet
50g (1.8oz) butter
50g (1.8oz) plain flour
500ml (0.53quarts) of warm milk (heat up in the small saucepan before adding to sauce)
100g + 100g (3.5oz + 3.5oz) of your favourite mature cheddar, grated
2tsp of mustard (I used sweeter and less spicy kind)
100ml (0.1quarts) of single cream
1tsp of lemon juice
pinch of nutmeg
1tsp of salt (only if your cheese is not very salty)
0,5tsp black pepper
2tbsp of vegetable oil
Ingredients for crunchy topping:
25g (0.88oz) of butter
20g (0.7oz) panko breadcrumbs
2tbsp of pumpkin seeds
1. To begin preheat the oven to 240C (465F)
2. Rub the vegetable oil into your prepared squash pieces and bake skin down on a tray with parchment for around 20 minutes.
3. In the meantime prepare the bechamel sauce, in the small saucepan melt the 50g of butter and add 50g of plain flour, cook on a low heat for about minute or two, mixing until a smooth roux paste is formed, then mix in half of the warm milk until it thickens and repeat with the second part.
4. To the sauce mix in 100g of grated cheddar until melts, then add cream, lemon juice, a pinch of nutmeg, black pepper and 1tsp of salt if needed. Set aside.
5. When squash is baked turn the oven down to the 200C (392F) then separate the flesh from the skin and blend into a smooth paste in a food processor (you can add 1tsp of water to make it easier)
6. Mix in 125-150g of squash puree to the bechamel sauce and mix with the cooked macaroni pasta and place in the baking dish, sprinkle with cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes depending on the dish size. Alternatively you instead of baking you can heat it on the stove (be careful not to burn it).
7. For the topping melt 25g of butter in a small pan and mix in panko breadcrumbs and pumpkin seeds, brown on a medium heat mixing continuously then remove from the pan ready to serve.
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