I have never been a squash fan. Squash. Whaaaaat?! I just, honestly, didn’t know what to do with it and let’s be honest – do your kids like squash? I don’t cook separate meals, so I try to split the suffering between us and the kids 50/50. Yesterday, it was Adam’s turn to whine and nobody else’s. But that little bugger…love him to death, my precious child…wouldn’t eat neither chicken chili con queso nor a cabbage rolls casserole. I got away with pear & chia whole wheat pancakes though.
I served this Squash Mac and Cheese to Kyle holding my breath. Sprinkled with some Parmesan.
At the end of the day, that child only knows Kraft dinner mac and cheese. He asked me if it was healthy. Now, what would you say to a 7 year old?! I said it’s a regular mac and cheese, like all other mommy’s food is healthy. Well…drumroll…he asked if he could have it for lunch at school tomorrow. YES!
So, now I know what to do with butternut squash. It’s the one pear shaped, with light skin. Super easy to handle – cut in half, remove seeds, peel, chop and boil in water. Takes like 15 minutes to cook. I thought it would take longer. Even just plain it tasted great – sweet and soft.
As soon as I blended it with some roasted garlic and nutmeg, it became the best non-dairy sauce I ever tried in my life! Pillowy soft, creamy and rich. I swear, better than any Alfredo sauce. The elbow macaroni were literally swimming in it.
I added some cheese, of course. I used slices of organic Colby Jack. You can really use any cheese you have on hand – mozzarella, cheddar, marble or Tex Mex. I found adding Parmesan cheese took the squash sauce to the next level. Its sharpness offsets the sweetness of the squash beautifully!
I really didn’t see a need to bake this Mac and Cheese in the oven. It was a quick lunch/dinner. I also froze the leftovers in an airtight container.
- 1 small butternut squash, 1.10lb or 5 cups diced
- 8 cups water, divided
- 2 cups whole wheat elbow macaroni pasta, dry
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cup skim milk
- 3 tbsp whole wheat flour
- 5 Colby Jack cheese slices (5oz), or 1 + 1/4 cup shredded (mozzarella, marble, cheddar or Tex Mex is fine)
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- Cut squash in half, remove seeds with a spoon, peel and dice. Add to a medium saucepan along with 4 cups water, bring to a boil on high, reduce heat to low-medium, cover and cook for 15 minutes or until tender.
- In the meanwhile, in another small saucepan, bring remaining 4 cups of water to a boil. Add pasta, reduce heat to low-medium and cook for 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- Drain the squash, reserving 3/4 cup squash water and transfer both, squash and squash water, to a blender. In the same squash saucepan, on low heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil, garlic and nutmeg. Saute for 30 seconds stirring frequently. Transfer to a blender, along with salt. Blend until the sauce is smooth adding more water if necessary.
- In the same squash sauce pan, on low heat, whisk together milk with flour, for about 30 seconds. Add squash sauce from the blender and cheeses. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes for the cheese to melt. Stir the sauce to incorporate the cheese with the rest of ingredients. Add pasta and mix. Serve warm.
Servings Per Recipe: 6
Amount Per Serving = 3/4 cup:
Total Fat: 10.1 g
Cholesterol: 24.5 mg
Sodium: 306.0 mg
Total Carbs: 46.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 6.3 g
Protein: 13.4 g
WW Points+: 8