Tuesday, June 21, 2011
So what is this undercover agent? Squash. Finely grated, yellow summer squash to be exact. As you know I am always trying to get my meat eater to have more veggies. And what better way to hide them than coated in cheese and baked in pasta? Hey, don't knock it. At least he is getting the wonderful benefits of squash (like vitamins A, C, beta carotene, and iron). Combine that with his recent switch to whole grain pasta and its at least a semi-healthy side dish.
To make your own batch, gather the following:
1 box of whole grain pasta (I like rotini or cremini best, but elbows will do, and you don't have to use whole grain)
2 cups of organic milk
1 bay leaf
a dash of nutmeg
4 tblsp of organic butter
1/3 cup of flour
2 cups of shredded cheese (I like about half cheddar and half Italian - provolone, mozzarella, etc. - but just use your family favorite.)
1 cup of grated summer squash
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Seasoned breadcrumbs for dusting
First finely grate the squash. Place it in a colander in the sink and let any excess liquid drain. Then, boil a large pot of water with salt. Cook pasta til almost al dente (remember it will get a second cooking in the oven). Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large sauce pan, heat the milk and bay leaf over a low flame. Do not boil or scold. In the meantime, melt the butter in a small pan. Add in the flour until well combined. Remove the bay leaf from the milk and add in the butter mixture. Whisk til smooth. Add all but 2 tblsp of the cheese and melt completely. Stir in the squash. Flavor with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Simmer and thicken til pasta is ready and drained. Return pasta to the pot and coat with cheese mixture. Place the cheesy pasta in an oven proof dish. Dust with more shredded cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake for twenty minutes, until bubbly. Let stand for five minutes before serving.
So, if you joined a CSA and just got a ton of squash or if you have even grown your own, give this side dish a shot. You may even trick your carnivore, or your kid for that matter. I mean, who would ever think there are veggies in all that cheesy pasta? Just don't tell...