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Thanksgiving: Cheesy Veggie Mac

Posted Nov 20 2011 11:30am

It’s officially the week of Thanksgiving! Yes, it’s been the week of since last Thursday but to me, it doesn’t feel like the actual holiday week until today. Five more days!

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Up to and including Thanksgiving, I’ll be posting a few recipes that are perfect for the biggest foodie day of the year. I realize you may have your menu set already but these are all side dishes or desserts that will complement any sort of Thanksgiving meal, with fairly simple preparation and amazing results.

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First on the list is this cheesy veggie mac , courtesy of How Sweet It  is . This casserole dish is the perfect combination of fall veggies plus everyone’s favorite toppings: cheese and breadcrumbs!

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Cheesy Veggie Mac (adapted from How Sweet It Is )
(serves 4-6, depending on portion size)

  • 1 box short pasta (whole wheat works great!)
  • 1/2 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed (I used a prepared portion from Whole Foods; see photo below)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped into large pieces
  • 2 cups Brussels sprouts, quartered
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups milk (or non-dairy sub, like almond milk)
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese, grated (I used a white cheddar)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese + more for topping
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

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Chop the veggies. You really don't need to be exact with chopping but I did find that smaller pieces were nicer than larger ones. I definitely chopped those butternut squash pieces into a smaller dice and even those were kind of large.

(My Whole Foods butternut was dusted in cinnamon and this definitely took over the dish, so I recommend avoiding that and just getting plain. I have seen them at my regular grocery store as well!)

Heat a large skillet over medium and add one tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onions, sprouts, and butternut with salt and pepper and sauté for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. While pan roasting your veggies, start a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Set both aside when finished, rinsing out the pasta pot in order to make your sauce (I’m all about using the least amount of pans possible!). At this time, reduce the oven temp to 350.

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In your pasta pot, melt one tablespoon butter on medium low, then whisk in the flour to create a roux. Whisk continuously for about a minute, then add the milk. Keep whisking! Add the cheese in batches next, giving each batch a chance to melt. You’ll need to keep whisking to prevent the cheese from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Whisk until the sauce has thickened a bit and the cheese is entirely melted – the whole process should take about 10 minutes.

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Combine the pasta and veggies in a sprayed casserole dish (9X13). Pour in the sauce and mix to combine. Top with the bread crumbs and sprinkle with parmesan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, and if you want a super brown crust, broil for 3-4 minutes. Let rest for about five minutes after you take it out of the oven.

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This dish is the perfect combination between roasted vegetables and creamy macaroni goodness. The cheese is subtle enough to coat the veggies but not overpower them, and the pasta adds the familiar texture you’re looking for with each bite.

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What’s better than a dish that gets you a serving of vegetables smothered in cheese and crunch? Not much, especially on Thanksgiving.

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This reheated nicely the next day, so scoop some on the side of your next-day turkey sandwich and your belly will thank you.

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Stay tuned for more Thanksgiving recipes, all this week!

Question: Do you have a version of macaroni and cheese on Thanksgiving?

(I never have but I’ve noticed it pop up on more tables recently!)

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