I was introduced to the concept of butternut squash macaroni and cheese by Martha Stewart. It was nice, but too bland. Fabulous idea though, to put butternut squash in mac and cheese. But her recipe calls to boil butternut squash, which doesn’t allow this vegetable to be all it can be. And she uses ricotta, which is rather expensive, and you can’t even tell it’s in there. Kind of a waste of a pricy ingredient.
The other recipe I used was called “President Reagan’s Macaroni and Cheese.” You can find it on the Internet. It calls for three cups of cheese for only 1/2 pound of macaroni. Delicious, but very greasy. My kids love macaroni and cheese, and since the boxed kind lacks any depth of flavor, and has who-knows-what in that cheese packet, I knew I had to make my own version. I played around with portions of milk, cheese, dry mustard, and after a lot of duds, I finally have come up with the best butternut squash macaroni and cheese ever.
Unlike Martha, I roast my squash for this dish. I cut the squash in half, put it cut side down, and place on a cookie sheet. I add 1/2 cup of water on the baking sheet, and roast the squash at 425. After you can pierce the outside of the squash all the way through, it’s done. I actually used roasted butternut squash that I had frozen, because I got a major deal at the farmer’s market this fall. Don’t throw away the seeds! Roast them just like you would pumpkin. Delicious, low calorie snack, and a nice addition to homemade trail mix.
Try this twist of macaroni and cheese, and I’m sure you will have a new family favorite.
Best Ever Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese
(I served with roasted broccoli)
3/4 pound of uncooked elbow macaroni
1 TBSP of butter
1 beaten egg
1 1/2 tsp of salt
3/4 tsp dry mustard
3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups roasted butternut squash, mashed
1/4 cup of panko or other breadcrumbs
Boil macaroni in salted water until tender. Add butter to large bowl, and add cooked macaroni. Let macaroni cool for about 5 minutes and add egg. If you don’t let it cool some, you will have scrambled eggs in your pasta! Combine dry mustard with milk. Add all ingredients through the squash, saving out 1/4 cup of cheese.
Pour into a casserole coated with cooking spray. Put the rest of the cheese on top of macaroni, and sprinkle with crumb topping. Spray topping with cooking spray. Cook for 350 for 45 minutes. The size casserole you use will affect the cooking time. A shallow dish will take less time, so keep an eye out.