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organic mac & cheese with butternut squash & bacon

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         I have been thinking a lot about comfort food lately or maybe it’s more a craving? Either way with the chilly nights we've been having, it fits. So when I was approached to do another recipe for Natrel using their organic milk I immediately thought it had to be a comfort dish and what better then mac and cheese.  
Mac and cheese has to be my go-to comfort food next to Shepherds pie and a really good lemony garlic pasta with spicy sausage and cherry tomatoes… mmm.  It’s one of those things that just seems to make everything right at that moment, even the hard ones.

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ORGANIC MAC & CHEESE WITH
 BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND BACON


450g organic butternut squash (cut into 1inch chunks) 
6-8 slices organic bacon
350g organic macaroni
2
1⁄2 tbsp butter

3 tbsp flour
3 cups of Natrel’s Organic milk
1⁄4 tsp each of garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, & chipotle powder 1 egg (beaten)
1
1⁄2 cups organic shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded jalapeno havarti cheese
1⁄2 cup of brie, rind removed (cut into chunks)
sea salt & cracked black pepper


TOPPING
11⁄2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1⁄2 cup of crispy fried onions*
1⁄4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese 11⁄2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tbsp olive oil


Preheat oven to 350 d

Place butternut squash on a baking pan with a little olive oil and roast for 25-30 minutes or until brown and tender. On a separate baking pan lined with tin foil place bacon strips and cook on the lower rack of the oven for 10 minutes or until crispy. Drain on a paper towel and cut into half inch pieces.

Grate your cheeses and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt water generously and boil pasta until al denteh, 8-10 minutes. Drain and toss with a little olive oil to prevent sticking.

While the water is boiling, in a large pot over medium-low heat, melt the butter then sprinkle in flour. Whisking constantly cook the mixture for 3-5 minutes or until the mix has turned light brown.

Add the milk and spices to a small bowl and slowly add to the butter flour mixture whisking continuously until the mixture become thick. Reduce the heat to low.

Add the beaten egg to the mixture making sure to whisk as you pour in the egg to avoid scrambled egg bits. Once combined add the cheeses in two batches until melted and creamy.
Add salt and pepper to taste.


Combine the breadcrumbs, crispy onions, parmesan and thyme with the olive oil, set aside.
In a deep baking dish add the macaroni, butternut squash and bacon. Cover with the cheese sauce, stir to combine and top with the breadcrumb mixture. Place in the oven under a low broiler until the top has turned golden brown.

*Crispy onions can be found pre-packed in most local grocery stores.


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