Butternut Squash Macaroni & Cheese

Meat is generally at the center of our holiday meals and Valentine’s Day was no different featuring some delicious filet mignons for me and my husband. But, our daughter doesn’t love meat (other than poultry) and is experimenting with becoming a vegetarian. I’ve made her this special veggie mac and cheese for a couple of holidays and she loves it as do the meat eaters.

Our daughter genuinely loves vegetables, but for those of you who want to sneak some veggies into your kids’ lives, this recipe is a good way to do that. The pureed winter (or butternut) squash only adds a subtle flavor and provides a nice texture to the cheesy sauce.

I usually use cavatappi because I think it’s a bit more fun than elbows and 2% milk because that’s what I normally have in the fridge. I’ve made this with both the two packages of squash called for and only one package (when I forgot to buy two). The dish was a hit both ways.

Macaroni & 4 Cheeses
Ellie Krieger

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen pureed winter squash
  • 2 cups 1 percent lowfat milk
  • 4 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (about 1 1/3 cups)
  • 2 ounces Monterrey jack cheese, grated (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon powdered mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until tender but firm, about 5 to 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, place the frozen squash and milk into a large saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally and breaking up the squash with a spoon until it is defrosted. Turn the heat up to medium and cook until the mixture is almost simmering, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the Cheddar, jack cheese, ricotta cheese, salt, mustard and cayenne pepper. Pour cheese mixture over the macaroni and stir to combine. Transfer the macaroni and cheese to the baking dish.
  4. Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the macaroni and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, then broil for 3 minutes so the top is crisp and nicely browned.

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