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24 October 2011

Recipe of the week

I follow loads of cooking blogs. Despite owning dozens of cookbooks I still need to look at some sort of recipe on a daily basis. I used to follow through and make a lot of these recipes. Weekly potluck with the friends was one major reason- I always had to bust out a new and unqiue recipe so I could "beat" everyone else, despite it not being a competition. In the past year our weekly potlucks have faded and I have stopped cooking near as much. I miss it and miss chopping; it always helps me get my anger out. I was driving around looking for errands to run yesterday when I decided to go to the grocery store. I mean if I'm going to stop eating out on a daily basis I might as well stock some food in my fridge to allow me to want to stop eating out. On the drive to hipster Kroger I noticed a printed out recipe in the passenger seat. It was one I printed out just days ago. A healthy macaroni and cheese, or at least a health-IER version. Being Sunday I decided to jump into the cooking pool feet first. No toe dipping for me. I bought the ingredients, not cheap by the way since the cheeses required were not cheap and god forbid I use cheaper cheeses, and rushed home to cook my little heart out. I cooked my heart out so much and chopped so fucking much that I have a blister on my finger. Improper knife holding anyone? Anyhoo despite the pain, the recipe also brought me glory. Glory for getting back into cooking with only 1 blister to show.

This health-IER mac n' cheese contains roasted acorn squash, gruyere, sharp white cheddar, spinach, wheat bread, basil, sour cream, wheat pasta, and tomatoes.

Broccoli-Basil Mac and Cheese
*ever so slightly adapted from

1 small acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cut into tiny chunks
olive oil
1 bunch of basil, stems removed
2 slices wheat bread, stale or dried out in the oven
1/2 a small head of broccoli, roughly chopped
5 tbsp sour cream
slightly less than ½ lb grated white cheddar cheese
slightly less than ½ lb grated gruyere cheese
a large handful of (yellow) cherry tomatoes
1 pkg whole wheat macaroni elbows,

Preheat your oven to 400F with a rack in the middle. Put a large salted pot of water on to boil.

Place the squash on a baking sheet, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden.

In the meantime, pulse half the basil, all of the bread, the broccoli and a lug of olive oil in a food processor until you've got a fine crumb. It'll be a bit damp. Transfer to a small bowl and give the processor a rinse.

In a separate bowl, combine the sour cream and grated cheeses.
Place the cherry tomatoes in the food processor with the remaining basil. Pulse a couple times to break things up, then add to the sour cream/cheese mixture and stir well. Can break into bits if you don’t have large processor.

Boil the pasta in well-salted water for a bit less time than the package suggests - you want it ever so slightly undercooked. Drain, reserving a big cup of the hot pasta water for later use.

Return the hot pasta to the pan and add the cheese mixture to it. Add the squash and give it a good stir. Add pasta water to thin the sauce to the consistency of cream. It can be a bit runny as the pasta will soak it up in the oven.

Transfer everything to a large baking dish or casserole. Sprinkle the green breadcrumbs evenly across the top and bake for 20 -25 minutes at 400F or until the topping is crunchy. Remove from the oven, and wait 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 8 - 10.

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