Gorgonzola Macaroni and Cheese with Butternut Squash and Pickled Pears

March 27, 2019

Author Notes: I usually make macaroni and cheese to cover a lot of bases. It cleans out my fridge of leftover cheese bits and vegetables, which reduces food waste and is good for my wallet. It's also comfort food and can serve a crowd. For all these reasons I've made a lot of mac and cheese over the years, but that doesn't mean it can't be special! Here the combination of the salty-funky blue cheese, the sweet squash, the sour pears, and the crunchy corn flakes really blew my mind.Risa B

Serves: 6
Prep time: 4 hrs 30 min
Cook time: 1 hrs 30 min

Ingredients

Pickled Pears (based on this recipe: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1302/pickled-pears)

  • 2 medium pears, I used Bosc
  • 1/2 peel of an orange
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 3 allspice berries
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

Baked Mac and Cheese

  • 1 pound pasta, I used ziti rigate
  • 2 pounds butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded manchego cheese
  • 1 cup shredded fontina cheese
  • 1/2 cup sharp yellow cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup cornflakes
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 2 pears, pickled at least 4 hours
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. Put all pickling ingredients except the pears in a small saucepan and stir over med-low heat until the sugar has dissolved
  2. Peel, core, and quarter the pears then add to the pan and simmer for 15 min until the pears are just tender
  3. Remove the pears to a pint Mason jar
  4. Increase the heat under the remaining syrup and boil for 10 minutes, until reduced
  5. Pour the hot syrup over the pears, screw on the lid, and store in the fridge at least 4 hours and up to weeks
  6. Preheat the oven to 450°F
  7. Peel the squash and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  8. Toss the squash with the oil, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, allspice, cumin, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper
  9. Spread the squash on a foil-lined baking pan in a single even layer, and bake for 45 min stirring occasionally, until browned but not too soft
  10. In the meantime, melt the 1 Tbsp butter in a small skillet and mix in the cornflakes and thyme just to warm
  11. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta for 3 minutes. Drain.
  12. In a medium saucepan, melt the remaining butter, then whisk in the flour, mustard, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper to make a roux
  13. Cook until smooth and bubbly, then gradually add the milk while whisking constantly
  14. Cook and stir over medium heat until the mix boils then simmer 1 min, stirring constantly
  15. Gradually mix in the cheeses and stir over low heat until cheese is melted
  16. Add to the cooked pasta, mix together lightly
  17. When the squash is ready, reduce the oven to 350°F
  18. Carefully fold the squash into the macaroni and cheese, being careful not to get the spice mix everywhere or completely pulverize the squash
  19. Pour pasta into a greased 9x13 pan and bake 30 min until brown and bubbly
  20. Sprinkle the cornflakes mixture over the top and broil 5 min or until browned - don't let this burn!
  21. Drain pears, thinly slice and fan pear over top before serving

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