This recipe is featured in the Huffington Post
Macaroni and cheese is my favourite comfort food! Traditionally, mac & cheese is really rich and heavy on the butter, cream and lots of cheese, so I wanted to try a lightened up version without compromising taste and texture, of course.
Mac & cheese is an easy dish to get creative with different add-on’s: peas, kale, bacon, crab, cauliflower, and even a cashew cream sauce. I decided to turn to an unlikely ingredient for a boost – butternut squash. Combined with the 1% milk and the variety of cheeses, the squash adds a rich, nutty flavor, sneaks in a few servings of vegetable, and wonderfully mimics the color and creaminess of a rich cheesy sauce. A trio of bold cheeses packs more flavor than a one-cheese approach. Is your month watering yet…?
Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese
- 500 g whole wheat elbow macaroni
- 4-5 cups butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 cups 1% milk
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 1/2 white onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1.5 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- 1/8 tsp (or less) cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Roast the cubed butternut squash for 20-25 minutes, or until soft when pierced with a fork. When roasted and cooled, transfer to a food processor and blend until smooth. Coat a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with cooking spray.
- Add the macaroni to a large pot of boiling water and cook until tender but firm. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add the milk and pureed squash to the saucepan and cook over medium heat until almost simmering, stirring often.
- Remove pan from heat and stir in the cheddar cheese, ricotta cheese, onions, salt, dry mustard and cayenne pepper.
- Pour cheese mixture over the macaroni and stir to combine. Transfer the macaroni and cheese to a 9 x 13 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 20 minutes, uncovered, then broil for 3 minutes so the top is crisp and nicely browned.