Try this cheesy macaroni with chunks of butternut squash, gooey sharp cheddar and spicy seasonings for a scrumptious, light side!
Keep your meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and bread puddings. In my mind, comfort food begins and ends at mac and cheese. There is just nothin’ better!
Now, mind you, the same sentiment isn’t shared with such passion by all tenants of my house… much to my disgrace. Hubby and I are still trucking along in a many-yearlong process to cure his blue box blues. But with each forkful of homemade goodness he gets a little closer to loving the best comfort food on earth!
This cheesy macaroni with chunks of butternut squash, gooey sharp cheddar and spicy seasonings is what dreams are made of, y’all. It’s better than digging your hands into a bin of rice, or hugging a soft kitty, or, or… watching the season premiere of Dexter with a tub of ice cream! Oh, I said it.
It’s lovely to look at and melt-in-your-mouth delicious, but also light on calories too! Using whole wheat pasta, a vegetable broth/skim milk base, and part-skim ricotta to amp up the dreamy creaminess, you can count it in at only 290 calories per serving. Hell. yeah.
Try this as a fun side dish some weeknight, or plan ahead and add it to your Thanksgiving menu. It’s perfect for sneaking your picky eaters a serving of veggies, and pretty guilt free for the big kids of the house!
Enjoy your weekend, foodie friends! I’ve got a list (and a hubby) to get working on…
Butternut Squash Mac ‘n Cheese
Yield: Serves 8
1 (1 lb.) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced (approx. 3 cups)
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup fat-free milk
16 oz. whole wheat pasta of your choice (shells, elbows, rotini, etc.)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon olive oil
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. In a separate medium saucepan, combine squash, broth and milk and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until squash is tender, 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Add pasta to boiling water and cook according to package instructions, usually about 8 minutes. Gently mash squash mixture and season with nutmeg, cayenne, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
Drain pasta and add back to pot; place on stovetop away from heat. Stir in squash mixture, cheddar, Parmesan and ricotta. Pour mixture into prepared pan; one 13x9 or two 9x9 pans work fine.
In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs and olive oil. Sprinkle evenly over pasta.
Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until lightly browned and crisp on top, 15-20 minutes more. Serve immediately.
*Tip: This can also be frozen well. Pour into baking dish, cover with aluminum foil and freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw on counter before baking and bake as normal, though a little extra time may need to be added.