Thursday, November 10, 2011

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Is there anything better than mac and cheese this time of year? I love comfort food, and who doesn't, but try to stay away from it. But everyone knows that Jessica Seinfeld, and some other woman not married to a celebrity, published a cookbook chocked full of "sneaky" ways to get more veggies into kid foods that are often beige. I think she suggested avocado in brownies, now I could try that. I've also seen recipes for black bean brownies that sounds divine. Oops, I've digressed. I find myself on the opposite side of the sneaky spectrum. I try to sneak delicious cheese into otherwise fairly healthy items.

When I saw this recipe on the Cooking Light website I knew I had to try it. With our CSA I try to cook what we get because that's enough of a challenge to keep on top of all of that food. Recently, Joel's sweet mother gave us some butternut squash and I knew what I wanted to do with it.

I use Cooking Light recipes so often that I swear I could be a recipe tester. Most often I end up really enjoying their balance between health and also delicious. I made a few alterations to the recipe but this dish did not disappoint.

Bear with me, with the sun setting before 5pm we're in for the long haul of fewer pictures with natural light.

This happens to be the kind of recipe that has several steps and dirtied many, many dishes. It turns out to have been worth it.

The most difficult part of this recipe is peeling and dicing the squash. Stay tuned, in a future post I'll walk through how I do it. Hint, I do not use a vegetable peeler for this beast.

I didn't take a ton of pictures because I was working on speeding up the recipe because I made this on a week night. The dish was a huge success. Joel loved it and I took it to a work pot luck and people went crazy it was so delicious. Okay, I'm exaggerating but people really enjoyed it. Give it a whirl and let me know your thoughts!

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese
Adapted from Cooking Light

  • 3 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 [1-pound] squash)
  • 1 1/4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth 
  • 2 cups fat-free milk
  • garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fat-free Greek yogurt 
  • 1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) shredded cheese - I used 50% lighter cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) grated pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) finely grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
  • 1 pound uncooked whole wheat pasta - I used cork screw shape so the cheese would stick in there! 
  • Cooking spray 
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil 
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

 Preheat oven to 375.

Bring butternut squash, chicken broth, milk, and garlic to a boil in a large pot and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until squash is fork tender about 25 minutes. Remove from heat.

Place mixture in a blender with salt, pepper, and greek yogurt. When using a blender with hot foods be sure to remove the center of the lid and place a kitchen towel over hole to allow steam to escape. Blend until smooth. Dump mixture into large bowl with cheeses to combine.

In the meantime, prepare the pasta according the directions on the box to el dente. I actually prefer my pasta slightly undercooked for mac and cheese so that it can sop up more creamy milk goodness during baking. Toss pasta with blended mixture. Pour into 9 x 13 inch pan that was coated with nonstick cooking spray.

On the stove top over medium heat toss panko and olive oil until panko darkens. Sprinkle over top of mac and cheese. Sprinkle remaining parmesan over panko. Pop in the oven for 25 minutes or until bubbly and browned on top.


Linked up to:
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  2. This recipe looks unbelievably good, thanks for linking up to my hop!

  3. Sounds really yummy!
    Thanks for sharing at Show & Share!

  4. Hi Amy, this recipe looks really good. Thanks so much for sharing it with us. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris