February 11, 2018

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese | The Naptime Chef

Mac-n-Cheese is quite possibly the most wonderful comfort food. There is nothing not to love about pasta baked with cheesy sauce topped with crunchy breadcrumbs. Personally, I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t adore this comfort food! The problem, of course, is that the dish can lean on the heavy side, so it is really more of a treat than a regular menu item. Unless, of course, you can sneak some vegetables in!

Something I tried recently is puréeing butternut squash into the cheese sauce to make a truly delicious, slightly healthier, vegetable-laden dish. The process is easy. It starts with softening the squash in Skim Plus milk on the stovetop. Then it is puréed until smooth and made into a delicious béchamel sauce. I use Skim Plus milk because it has a lovely creamy texture with 37% more protein than whole milk and 34% more calcium. The creamy sauce is then folded together with fresh cooked pasta and baked into a yummy casserole!

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese | The Naptime Chef

We like to serve this with a crisp green salad to balance out the rich cheesy flavor. It also tastes great with any green vegetable or even a big bowl of shaved Brussels sprouts.

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese | The Naptime Chef

No matter how you serve it, you’ll love this delicious twist on a classic dish. It’s a great way to serve comfort food and keep it on the healthier side this winter!

(Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Skim Plus milk. The photographs and recipes are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Naptime Chef.)

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese
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Ingredients

  • 3 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 3 cups Skim Plus milk
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons dry mustard
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 6 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • kosher salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 pound elbow shaped pasta

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large pan, add the squash and milk. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Remove from the heat and purée until smooth in a regular blender or with an immersion blender.
  3. In a separate large pot, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside. Rinse the pot to use again.
  4. In the large pot, melt the butter, then add the mustard and flour and stir for 1 minute to make a roux. Slowly add the squash sauce to the roux, whisking well until very smooth. Then allow it to simmer so the sauce can thicken. Once it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, add the cheese and stir until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Fold the pasta into the sauce until evenly coated. Then spread it into a 4-quart baking dish that has been generously coated with cooking spray. Bake for 30 minutes, or until heated through and the edges are browned and bubbly. Serve warm!
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