1 small butternut, acorn, or other winter squash, peeled, seeded and cut into tiny chunks
1 bunch of basil, stems removed
2 slices good brown bread, stale or dried out in the oven
1/2 a small head of broccoli (100 g / 3.5 oz), roughly chopped
4 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream
~ 1 3/4 cups / 3.5 oz / 100 g grated white cheddar cheese
~ 1 3/4 cups / 3.5 oz / 100 g grated gruyere cheese
a large handful of (yellow) cherry tomatoes
3 cups / 300 g dried (whole wheat) macaroni elbows
Preheat your oven to 400F / 200C with a rack in the middle. Put a large pot of water on to boil.
Place the squash on a large baking sheet, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden.
In the meantime, pulse half the basil, all of the bread, the broccoli and a lug of olive oil in a food processor until you’ve got a fine crumb. It’ll be a bit damp – that’s o.k. Transfer to a small bowl and give the processor a rinse.
In a separate bowl, combine the creme fraiche and grated cheeses.
Place the cherry tomatoes in the food processor with the remaining basil. Pulse a couple times to break things up, then add to the creme fraiche mixture and stir well.
Boil the pasta in well-salted water for a bit less time than the package suggests – you want it ever so slightly undercooked. Drain, reserving a big cup of the hot pasta water for later use. Return the hot pasta to the pan and add the cheese mixture to it. Add the squash and give it a good stir. Add pasta water to thin the sauce to the consistency of cream. It can be a bit runny as the pasta will soak it up in the oven.
Transfer everything to a large baking dish or casserole. Sprinkle the green breadcrumbs evenly across the top and bake for 20 -25 minutes or until the topping is crunchy. Remove from the oven, and wait 10 minutes before serving.
Credit: 101 Cookbooks