Saturday, October 22, 2011

We Love You, Butternut

Mac & cheese is a classic comfort food favorite in it's original form. And of course you can add some fun things to spice it up, but I've found that any "lighter" version is bland and most recipes don't warrant even being tried...

That was until I stumbled across an amazing recipe from Cooking Light - I was still skeptical but thought I'd give it a try. And boy am I glad I did. This butternut squash mac & cheese is light yet flavorful and places our orange fall friend as the highlight of the dish without omitting the cheesy creamy taste you want from classic mac & cheese.

And even if you still don't believe me, I tested this recipe twice on some very picky mac & cheese lovers and they've requested it again. So very happy that we can enjoy falls favorites, combine them with classic comfort food and healthfully enjoy.

My New Favorite Mac & Cheese - (thank you Cooking Light!)


3 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 [1-pound] squash)
1 1/4 cups
fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups
fat-free milk
2 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon
kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons
fat-free Greek yogurt
1 1/4 cups
(5 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese
1 cup
(4 ounces) grated pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 cup
(1 ounce) finely grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
1 pound
uncooked cavatappi
Cooking spray

1 teaspoon
olive oil
1/2 cup
panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
2 tablespoons
chopped fresh parsley


1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. Combine squash, broth, milk, and garlic in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Place the hot squash mixture in a blender. Add salt, pepper, and Greek yogurt. Remove the center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Place blended squash mixture in a bowl; stir in Gruyère, pecorino Romano, and 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano. Stir until combined.
4. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain well. Add pasta to squash mixture, and stir until combined. Spread mixture evenly into a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.
5. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add panko, and cook for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Sprinkle evenly over the hot pasta mixture. Lightly coat topping with cooking spray.
6. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with parsley, and serve immediately.

1 comment:

  1. I made this tonight and it was wonderful! Thanks for the recipe, I'm sure I'll make it again soon!