Mac & Cheese (& Butternut Squash)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-7 small servings
 
Homemade Macaroni & Cheese gets a hidden, healthy orange ingredient you won't even see! We're using creamy pureed butternut squash in our lighter cheesy sauce, and baking them in the oven for a healthier version of this classic. Who needs the box macaroni anyway?!
What to get:
  • 16 oz bag dried pasta (I used medium shells)
  • 2 cups butternut squash (cubed, boiled, then we'll puree)
  • 1 cup low fat Half & Half
  • 1 T butter
  • ¼ cup light sour cream (I prefer Daisy because it's creamier)
  • 2 cups grated Light Mexican cheese blend (or 1 cup each sharp cheddar & Monterey Jack)
  • ½ cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated (I used from a block of 18 mth aged cheddar)
  • 4T shredded parmesan cheese (or shredded parm-romano mix)
  • S&P to taste
  • 2-3 pieces of wheat sourdough bread or similar (for making bread crumbs)
  • 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for bread crumb mixture).
What to do:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Grease an oven safe casserole dish with butter.
  3. Prepare breadcrumbs in food processor, to a fine texture.
  4. In small bowl combine finely-grated sourdough bread crumbs with 1 tsp EVOO, and dash salt & pepper.
Prepare the butternut squash:
  1. Peel & cube fresh 2 cups worth of fresh butternut squash, (or by pre-cubed),
  2. Boil cubed butternut squash on stove till very tender with test of a fork, then drain in colander (being careful not to over boil!).
  3. In a food processor, puree cooked butternut till thoroughly smooth ( les than a minute).
Make cheesy goodness:
  1. In large pot of well salted water, boil pasta till al dente (for shells about 9 minutes), rinse with warm water, drain well in colander & set aside.
  2. In non-stick pot on stove, combine squash puree, half and half & butter and whisk to combine over low heat.
  3. Once combined, raise heat to medium-low and add shredded cheeses, whisking until melted and sauce begins to thicken (watch temp to make sure it is not too hot so dairy doesn't separate).
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Stir in cooked pasta in batches to coat well.
  6. Transfer cheesy mix to your prepared casserole dish, spreading pasta into an even layer.
  7. Now sprinkle top of pasta with thin layer of prepared fine breadcrumbs.
  8. Bake mac & cheese in oven for 15-20 min, till well heated throughout (don't overbake or it will dry out!).
  9. Serve hot.
Notes:
This one still has all the creamy cheesy goodness of macaroni & cheese, but we lighten it up a bit substituting low fat half and half for cream and using low fat sour cream and cheese. Also butternut squash gives a healthy vegetable serving with fiber and antioxidants, and all you will taste is cheesiness! You can substitute other pasta like traditional elbow macaroni, but I used shells. Also, avoid keeping this one in the oven too long, I kept mine on warm for quite awhile waiting for company and it will dry out a bit in oven for extended periods of time:) Great with Sloppy Joes or BBQ!
Serving size: side dish portion!
Recipe by the dinnervine at http://www.dinnervine.com/2012/10/mac-cheese-with-butternut-squash/