As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been spending a lot of my spare time recently scouring the internet for Fall-appropriate meals. Amidst all of my recipes involving apples, butternut squash, pumpkin, and chili, I kept stumbling upon recipes for macaroni and cheese. This excited me. I’ve never made it before, but boyyyy do I love it. I couldn’t wait until the temperatures dropped enough for me to make a nice baked mac ‘n cheese and curl up with a big comfy bowl of it. There is nothing like a nice big bowl of something warm and cheesy to make your day better!

Mac and cheese can be pretty unhealthy, but I found a recipe that includes butternut squash, to add a bit of vegetation and with that, some nutrients! I wasn’t sure how it was going to come out, and Stu is pretty skeptical of butternut squash these days, but I figured I’d give it a try.

Macaroni and Cheese with Butternut Squash
from Martha Stewart

1 small butternut squash (about 1 pound) , peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
1 cup homemade or low-sodium canned chicken stock, skimmed of fat
1 1/2 cups nonfat milk
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 pound elbow macaroni
4 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated (about 1 cup)
4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, finely grated (1 ounce)
2 tablespoons fine breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon olive oil
olive-oil cooking spray
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine squash, stock, and milk in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Mash contents of saucepan; stir in nutmeg, cayenne, and salt, and season with black pepper. Stir to combine.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles; cook until al dente according to package instructions, about 8 minutes. Drain, and transfer to a large bowl; stir in squash mixture, cheddar, ricotta, and 2 tablespoons Parmesan.

Lightly coat a 9-inch square baking dish (4 inches deep) with cooking spray. Transfer noodle mixture to dish. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan, and oil; sprinkle evenly over noodle mixture.

Cover with foil, and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil, and continue baking until lightly browned and crisp on top, 30 to 40 minutes more. Serve immediately.

 

This was quite good. Different from your standard macaroni and cheese, but the mashed up butternut squash added such a nice flavor and texture. If you didn’t make it, you might not even notice it was in there, very subtle, but in just the right way. Stu was a big fan. This made a lot of macaroni. We had leftovers for lunch and even froze some to have in a week or two on a busy night. I don’t know if I’ll make this again, I think one time is enough, but I was really glad that I got to give it a try, and that it came out well. If you’re looking for a fun and new way to put your butternut squash to use- this is it!

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