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 a 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 decadence and healthy omega-3 fatty acids; dill reminds me of my mom, she loves dill and uses it a lot; and the butternut squash to making up for the cheese and makes this even a little bit more 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.
- 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
- 2½ 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
- salt, pepper
- 250 g / 9 ounces smoked salmon, cut into squares
- Directions: Preheat your oven to 200 C / 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 two minutes earlier. Drain and set aside.
- Peel the butternut squash and cut into ½-inch cubes.
- Preheat a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter, 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 ⅔ of the cheese and about ⅔ 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.
The salmon adds a lot of saltiness to the dish, keep in mind while seasoning the sauce.