Delicious Side Recipes from Preppy Kitchen

butternut squash mac and cheese

BUTTERNUT SQUASH MAC AND CHEESE
Servings: 8

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash, large to extra large
1 white onion, medium
2 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
3⁄4 cup whole milk
1 quart chicken broth
1⁄4 teaspoon white pepper
Salt to taste
1⁄2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup gruyère, shredded
1⁄4 cup pecorino romano cheese, shredded
1 pound conchiglie pasta

For the Toasted Bread Crumbs:

4 slices white bread
4 tablespoons butter
1⁄2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1⁄4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
2 tablespoon parmesan, grated

Instructions:

  1. Start with the filling. Cut the butternut squash in half. Scoop out the seeds and cut off the outer skin. Dice up into cubes. Chop onion. Mince garlic.
  2. In a large pot over medium heat, sauté the onion and bay leaves until translucent, add garlic and cook on medium low until golden, stirring frequently. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add in butternut squash. Pour the stock into the pot. Bring to a boil and cook until tender.
  4. Drain squash, reserving 1⁄2 cup broth. Remove the bay leaves and transfer squash mixture to the blender. Add the milk, nutmeg, and reserved broth and purée until completely smooth and creamy.Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
  5. Cook pasta in salted water, drain, transfer to a large bowl and set aside. I used a pound of conchiglie pasta but macaroni works great too.
  6. Meanwhile, to make toasted breadcrumbs: Take 3 to 4 slices of bread and remove crusts, chop bread into small pieces or crumble with your fingers. Melt about 4 tablespoons of butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and season with salt, pepper and even a little thyme if you’d like. Move around pan and cook until golden brown, then transfer to a bowl and set aside. For some extra flavor I like to add 2 tablespoons of parmesan while the bread crumbs are cooking.
  7. Pour the puréed sauce over the cooked pasta and add the cheese. Stir to melt the cheese; if needed add milk to adjust consistency. Transfer to a baking dish.
  8. You can top your mac and cheese with toasted bread crumbs then bake in the oven at 350° for 15 minutes.
  9. Once done, garnish with parsley and enjoy!

CREAMED SPINACH
Servings: 8

Ingredients:

3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup onion minced
5 cloves garlic minced
2 1/2 tsp salt divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup cream
2 1/2 pounds fresh spinach roughly chopped, or 2 pounds frozen
1 cup mozzarella cheese
4 ounces cream cheese cut into cubes
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

  1. Mince your onion and garlic, shred the cheese and give your spinach a rough chop if using fresh leaves. 
  2. Bring a large pot of water with 2 tsp salt to a boil then cook the spinach for about 30 seconds then transfer to a colander and rinse with cold water. You can do this in batches if your pot isn’t big enough. If using frozen spinach simply thaw.
  3. Place the leaves in a tea towel or cheese cloth and squeeze all the excess water from the spinach and set aside.
  4. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat then add the onion and cook while stirring until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic in and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. 
  5. Pour in the cream and add the diced cream cheese, cook while sitting until the cream cheese has melted and the mixture comes to a boil. Boil for about a minute then reduce heat to low and sprinkle in the mozzarella and parmesan. Cook while stirring occasionally until melted then remove from heat.
  6. Bread the spinach apart and sprinkle into the sauce then stir over low heat until warmed through. Serve warm.

Recipes Courtesy of John Kanell of Preppy Kitchen