RECIPE {Creamy Squash Sauce}

Today we're headed to a Valentine's Potluck. While my dish isn't necessarily "love themed", there isn't any food I can think of that I love more than home made mac n' cheese (specifically, my mom's). So I figured I'd get my favorite comfort food in one last time before the snow thaws and it's beach time again. This recipe is definitely a twist on a classic, but I've never had any complaints. Last night I whipped up a batch of sauce, and today I threw it together with some pasta and spicy Italian sausage and topped it with breadcrumbs. The potluck isn't until 4 o'clock, and I'm having a really hard time not digging in. So I thought I would share the recipe.

Warning, it's a time-consuming process, but most of it is waiting. Basically you do three things here; roast squash, caramelize onions and make a cream sauce. Then you throw it all into the food processor and voila! I like to get the squash in the oven, start the onions and then catch up on my google reader between stirs. This makes a HUGE batch of sauce, so you can cut it in half if you like... however, it freezes well and is so multi-purpose that I would highly suggest going for the whole shebang. Each time I've made it, I've modified it to suit my tastes. This is my take on the original recipe.

Creamy Cheesy Squash Sauce

1 Medium Butternut Squash
2 T + 4 T unsalted butter
2 tsp minced garlic
6 cups yellow onion, sliced into 1/4” ringlets
Rosemary, 2 sprigs
6 T good olive oil
4 T flour
2 cups milk
4 oz chѐvre (I use Silver Goat herbed chѐvre)
salt & pepper

SQUASH: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Halve squash, scoop out the guts and drop 1 T of butter and 1 tsp garlic into each. Salt & pepper to taste, throw it on a baking sheet and roast for about 45 minutes. Squash is ready when it is fork-tender. Let it cool a bit and spoon into a bowl.

ONIONS: Heat the olive oil over medium-low, add onions and coat with oil. Sprinkle with rosemary. Let the onions turn a bit golden, reduce heat to low. Stir onions every few minutes until they are a rich golden-brown (about an hour).

SAUCE: Melt 4 T butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle in flour and whisk until mixture is golden. Reduce heat to low. Slowly stir in the milk, whisking constantly. Don't let the milk curdle! Whisk until super smooth. Now sprinkle in the cheese and stir until you have a nice thick, creamy sauce.

For a smooth sauce, pulse onions in food processor until blending into an onion paste of sorts, then blend in cream sauce followed by squash. For a chunkier version, throw it all in at once and pulse until you get it to the desired consistency. *Note, my food processor can't handle the whole batch, so I have to do it in two small batches.

There you have it! You can use it in lasagna, as a pizza sauce or for some crazy potatoes au gratin... Here is what I made with (part) of my sauce:

Squash & Sausage Mac n' Cheese:
Cook a pound of pasta until al dente, such as penne or elbow macaroni.
Cook up a ½ lb of spicy Italian Sausage (If you're in MPLS, I love the stuff from The Wedge).
Drain pasta and add sauce (ummmm... I don't measure, I just pour- about 2 cups)
Toss with sausage and put into a large baking dish.
For breadcrumbs, I threw a pita I made earlier this week into the food processor and pulsed until fine. Then I mixed with a couple Tablespoons of grated parmesan, drrizzled with olive oil and mixed it together with a fork.
Throw into a 375 degree oven for about 35 minutes or until it's bubbly and browning a bit on the top.
Now, enjoy - you deserve it.

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