Being an Italian girl, I LOVE pasta. I’m always trying to find ways to up the fiber and nutrients, and for this macaroni and cheese – I did! This dish has all the creaminess of the regular version, but with a squash base and a shockingly small amount of cheese.
Have all of your ingredients ready to go before you start, you’ll use them throughout the cooking process.
Squash Macaroni and Cheese serves 6
If your kids don’t like the kale or mushrooms, just leave them out, or substitute with a different vegetable.
1 cup of mashed acorn or butternut squash (roast your own or buy some in the prepared section of your supermarket)
1 bunch of fresh kale – chopped
½ LB. mushrooms (I used crimini and shitake, but use whatever you like)
1 TBL. olive oil
2 cloves of garlic minced
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
½ cup freshly ground breadcrumbs or plain Panko
1 TBL. finely chopped parsley
¾ lb. of whole wheat elbow macaroni (I like Barilla Plus)
1 heaping TBL. Flour
1 ½ TBL. Unsalted butter
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
½ cup low fat milk
½ tsp. turmeric
½ tsp. dried thyme
¼ tsp. paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
1 cup finely grated cheddar cheese (2 oz.)
½ cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (1 oz.)
Salt & freshly ground pepper
Heat ½ tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet. Add ½ of the garlic and the crushed red pepper flakes. Add chopped kale and a sprinkle of salt. As they start to wilt, add a splash of your stock to braise for a few minutes until tender. Remove from the pan and set aside. Pour any extra liquid into the stock. Add the remaining ½ TBL. olive oil to the pan and heat until warm, add mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and sauté until they are tender, and all of the liquid is evaporated. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of butter to the empty skillet and melt. Add the breadcrumbs or panko and toss to coat, cook until toasted. Remove from heat, add parsley and 1 TBL of the grated Parmesan or Romano and combine, season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cook the macaroni according to package directions, but drain when they are still a bit firm. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In the same saucepan you cooked the pasta in, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter on medium heat. Add the flour and whisk on medium heat until the flour takes on a light golden color. Slowly whisk in the stock and milk. Add turmeric, paprika, thyme and cayenne. Bring the sauce to a gentle boil until thickened. Whisk in the squash, and both cheeses until the cheese is melted. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. Stir in the macaroni, kale, and mushrooms. Pour into a glass 2 quart (8X11) baking dish. Sprinkle with bread topping. Bake for 20 minutes, until hot and bubbly J
Recipe by Rose Hattabaugh