This past weekend, Andrew and I plunged into a redecoration/ pseudo-remodel of our little home; ultimately taking that adult facing, full frontal leap into the world of personalization and establishment. A six hundred square foot space, once tactfully strewn with our flee market and sidewalk finds, shelves piled high with books and textiles, tableware and color, now thrust into complete disarray. Still surrounded by my same four walls, my same knickknacks just in crates and boxes, I’ve repeatedly found myself closing my eyes, clicking my (not so ruby red) clogs, the mantra ‘there’s no place like home’ reverberating.
In off-beat moments of limbo, how many of us forcefully hover around the familiar; translucent moths captivated and settled by the warmth of the light? These past few days, with paint cans littering my office, our couch stiffly banished to the corner of the living room, softening carpets rolled up and stored, my inner creature of habit has been left screaming. Undisguised ‘comfort food’ with overtones of nourishment, Andrew and I have found reprieve in my Baked Butternut Squash Mac N’ ‘Cheese’ with Hazelnut Cinnamon Crumble. The perfect make-ahead weeknight meal with plenty of leftovers, or potluck gold, this late winter macaroni takes those familiar, childhood flavors of cheesy gooeyness and warmth, but redefines them with real, unprocessed, and nutrient rich ingredients. Made with the most divinely creamy dreamy roasted butternut squash, cannellini beans, and warming cinnamon sauce, the kind that sneaks it’s way into every noodle, nook, and cranny, coupled with the savory crunch of a lightly toasted hazelnut and cinnamon crumble, we can see the light. I serve my baked mac fresh out the oven with an extra heap of crumble, or re-warmed with a splash of almond milk for a convenient and ready-made meal.
Baked Butternut Squash Mac N’ ‘Cheese’ with Hazelnut Cinnamon Crumble [serves 8]
inspired by: Sarah Britton, My New Roots, Deluxe Butternut Macaroni N’ Tease
2 pounds frozen butternut squash, diced
4 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, divided
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 box (16 ounces) pipe rigate or macaroni pasta, prepared according to package directions
1 cup shelled hazelnuts, lightly toasted
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Toss cubed squash, garlic, and 1 tablespoon coconut oil and bake for 20 minutes, or until squash is very tender. Transfer for a high-speed blender.
Add another 1 tablespoon coconut oil, cannellini beans, ¾ cup nutritional yeast, mustard, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, apple cider vinegar, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, and nutmeg to the blender. With the motor running, slowly add the almond milk until mixture is creamy dreamy and pourable.
Transfer sauce to a large oven safe pot or casserole dish and toss with prepared pasta. Set aside.
Reduce oven heat to 325 degrees F.
In a food processor fitted with an S-blade, pulse toasted hazelnuts, remaining 1 tablespoon coconut oil, remaining 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon until they form a coarse crumb. Sprinkle atop the pasta mixture, then place in oven for 20 minutes, or until pasta is warm and ready to serve. Increase oven heat to broil then broil for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until crumble is golden. Serve and enjoy!
Nutritional Information [per serving]
450 Calories, 16g Fat, 65g Carbohydrates, 15.7g Fiber, 4g Sugar, 15.7g Protein