Comfort food is the best.
On the top of my list is favorites is probably macaroni and cheese. I love it out of the blue box [#noshame], classically baked, with fancy cheeses and with every twist in between.
This mac and cheese recipe I’ve made a few times and it’s always been a huge hit. It feels decadent and rich, but in reality, it’s loaded with goodness. I am huge on knowing where my food comes from before I put it in my mouth, and more importantly – putting my own twist on recipes [what’s a recipe? 🙂]. Rarely do I ever make the same dish twice. This is one of those rare occasions where I will follow my own directions because it is that good.
I mean, look at it. Isn’t it mouth watering?
ACORN SQUASH, KALE, AND BACON MAC AND CHEESE
- 1 package macaroni pasta [I used some pasta I got from the HomeGoods specialty foods section]
- 1 acorn squash
- 1/2 bunch kale, chopped
- 4 strips bacon, chopped [I used Applegate Farms Sunday Bacon]
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 tbsp. butter
- 3 cups milk
- 4 oz. sharp cheddar, shredded
- 2 tbsp. cream cheese
- 2 oz. parmesan
- 2/3 cup panko bread crumbs [Trader Joe’s has the best!]
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut acorn squash in half and place open side up on a cookie sheet and roast for 45 minutes or until soft. Allow to cool, then scoop out flesh and set aside.
- Cook macaroni according to package instructions to al dente.
- In a large pot, saute onion and bacon until bacon starts to crisp. Add kale and cover for 5 minutes. Continue cooking kale down for 10 minutes, then put into bowl and set aside.
- Add milk and butter to same pot and simmer. Add cream cheese and stir until melted. Add cheddar and parmesan. Add squash flesh and combine until smooth. [You might need to hand puree depending on how soft you cooked your squash].
- Add cooked pasta and the kale and bacon mixture into the cheese sauce. Mix until just combined. Pour into a baking dish and smooth out. Top with panko.
- Bake for 25 minutes with low broil for the last few minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.
This is a great dish to bring for sharing to your next potluck or holiday outing – but I personally love eat this as the starring attraction.