Who am I kidding? I am from Germany and mac & cheese is not one of the dishes I grew up with. I rather remember having käse spätzle and countless noodle casseroles in my past. That’s maybe why I was kind of surprised as the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board asked me to develop a macaroni and cheese recipe with an European touch. But hey you have to be flexible! After some research I came up with this, a hybrid between European and American style noodle dish. It’s loaded with a lot of cheese, which is filling and comforting, the smoked salmon for spoiling, dill remembers me to my mum (I am not going to explain that ) and the butternut squash for pretending to be even a little bit healthy. All the flavors come together like they are meant to be.
Here you can find my recipe for Macaroni and Gruyère Cheese with Butternut Squash, Smoked Salmon and Dill.
Macaroni and Gruyère Cheese with Butternut Squash, Smoked Salmon and Dill
400 g / 14 ounces butternut squash
olive oil, for drizzling
1 pound pasta
2 to 3 garlic gloves, minced
80 g / 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 tablespoons flour
250 ml / 1 cup heavy whipping cream
250 ml / 1 cup broth (vegetable or chicken)
340 g / 12 ounces (3 cups) Wisconsin Gruyère Cheese, shredded and divided
55 g / 2 ounces fresh dill weed, chopped and divided
250 g / 9 ounces smoked salmon, cut into squares
Directions: Preheat your oven to 400°F. Cut off the top of the butternut squash and cut in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and membranes, set on your baking sheet, drizzle the inside with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until slightly softened. Let cool.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to packing instructions but finish cooking a minute earlier. Drain and set aside.
Peel the butternut squash and cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
Preheat a saucepan over medium heat, add butter and let melt, add garlic and sauté for one minute. Add the flour and mix until well blended; add cream and broth, continue cooking and stirring until smooth and thickened.
Add 2 cups of the cheese and about 2/3 of the dill and stir until well combined. Season to taste but be careful with the salt.
In a casserole dish, add the butternut squash, pasta, smoked salmon, Gruyère sauce and mix well, sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with remaining dill before serving.
If the pasta gets sticky rinse under running water.
The salmon adds a lot of saltiness to the dish, keep in mind while seasoning the sauce.