Featured Wisconsin Cheeses: Gruyère
Who am I kidding? I am originally from Germany, and mac and cheese is not one of the dishes I grew up with. I rather remember having käse spätzle and countless noodle casseroles in my past. But I wanted to create a macaroni and cheese recipe with a European touch. 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 a rich treat, dill to remind me of 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.
Macaroni and Gruyère Cheese with Butternut Squash, Smoked Salmon and Dill
14 ounces butternut squash
olive oil, for drizzling
1 pound pasta
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 to 3 garlic gloves, minced
2 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup broth (vegetable or chicken)
12 ounces (3 cups) Wisconsin Gruyère Cheese, shredded and divided
2 ounces fresh dill weed, chopped and divided
Salt and pepper to taste
9 ounces smoked salmon, cut into squares
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.
*Some notes: 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.
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butternut squash, Gruyère, mac and cheese, smoked salmon, Wisconsin Cheese
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