Now that I've been to a pumpkin patch, it is officially time to make recipes like Harvest Moon Macaroni. I've mentioned lately that I'm trying to make more meat free meals (for budget and variety reasons) and this one is a great addition to that plan.
This recipe was part of Rachael Ray's Halloween menu in 2008 on 30 Minute Meals, called Fright Night. She served it with Baba Ganoush and Pita Crisps and Spicy Sundaes, but I just served it with a simple green salad.
I think I'll stick with my favorite Curried Carrot Soup (complete with sour cream spider web) recipe this Halloween, but this one is worth a try if you are looking for something spooky to make. (Okay, it's not really spooky, but writing that was fun for me.)
Here's the recipe with my comments in brackets:
Harvest Moon Macaroni
Yield: 6 servings
1 pound macaroni such as cassarecci, strozzopretti or ziti with lines [I usually use whole wheat pasta, but went with the traditional elbow this time]
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose four
1 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 cups whole milk [It might be better with whole milk, but I used 2 percent and thought it still tasted great.]
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Nutmeg, grated to taste
1 (10-ounce) box frozen butternut squash, defrosted [Such a time saver and they say frozen veggies often have more nutritional value that fresh because they are picked at their peak and don't sit around. Also a great way to sneak some veggies in for little ones, but don't tell Darcy I said that.]
A few dashes hot sauce
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 cup extra-sharp yellow Cheddar
A handful fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
Bring water to a boil, season with salt and cook macaroni to al dente.
Preheat broiler and place rack in middle of the oven.
Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a sauce pot over medium heat, saute onions and garlic until soft, 6 to 7 minutes and stir in the thyme.
Scoot onions off to side of pan and melt butter, whisk flour into butter and combine whisk 1 minute then whisk in stock and milk, season sauce with salt, pepper and nutmeg, and cook until thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Stir in butternut squash and a few dashes hot sauce. Reduce heat. When sauce comes to a bubble, stir in Parmigiano. Combine the sauce and macaroni, transfer to a casserole dish and top with shredded yellow Cheddar, chopped parsley and paprika. Brown the macaroni under broiler, 4 to 5 minutes until brown and bubbly. [Don't skip the browning time - it is worth it!]