I realize this is my third macaroni and cheese recipe I’ve posted. The truth is I really don’t make it very often, but macaroni and cheese made with butternut squash sounded really good! I got it from the new cookbook Cooking Light sent me, The New Way to Cook Light.
This recipe is a keeper. It does take a little time to make, meaning it’s not something you would make rushing home on a weeknight. It’s more suited for a weekend dinner or something to make ahead of time and just plop in the oven 30 minutes before you want to eat. It makes yummy leftovers.
I personally loved the flavor. My husband sounded like he could have been in a commercial when he said (no joke), “It tastes too good to be light.” Sadly, my macaroni and cheese lover, Little D, didn’t even try it as it was one of those nights at dinner. Big A took a bite or two, stating it was “okay” which is good for a child who steers clear of macaroni and cheese.
Here are the step-by-step instructions followed by the complete recipe:
Start with 3 cups butternut squash, cubed. I let Trader Joe’s do the work for me.
Add the butter squash with milk, broth and 2 cloves of garlic (I added 3) in a medium pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender about 25 minutes.
Blend the squash mixture in a blender with yogurt, salt, and pepper until smooth.
Mix squash mixture with cheeses until well combined. Add the squash and cheese mixture with cooked pasta.
Over medium heat, cook panko bread crumbs in oil for 2 minutes, until golden brown. Set aside and stir in Parmigiano-Reggiano. Top the mixture on top of the macaroni and cheese and bake at 375 for 25 minutes.
- 3 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 pound)
- 1¼ cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
- 1½ cups fat-free milk
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 tablespoons plain fat-free Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1¼ cups (5 ounces) shredded Gruyere cheese
- 1 cup (4 ounces) grated pecorino Romano cheese
- ¼ cup (1 ounce) finely grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
- 1 pound uncooked pasta (cavatappi or penne rigate work well to hold on to the sauce)
- Cooking spray
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ½ cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- Preheat over to 375 F
- Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes.
- Place hot squash mixture in a blender and blend until smooth. Place squash mixture in a bowl and stir in Gruyere, pecorino Romano, and 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano until combined.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Add pasta to squash mixture; stir until combined. Spread mixture into a 13 X 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.
- Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add panko; cook 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano. Sprinkle evenly over pasta mixture. Lightly coat the top with cooking spray.
- Bake at 375F for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with parsley; serve immediately.
For more recipes and tips on how to serve meals to kids, check out Maryann’s book The Family Dinner Solution: How to Create a Rotation of Dinner Meals Your Family Will Love