Monday, October 31, 2011

Butternut Mac & Cheese

Homemade mac and cheese is one of the best comfort foods of all time.  However, you need to be in a particular mood to consume huge amounts of pasta and creamy cheese sauce.  That mood being one which involves yoga pants.  These days my mood always involves yoga pants, but I wanted to add a few healthy features to this mac and cheese so I could get away with serving it for dinner without a side of running on the treadmill.  In addition to your usual pasta and cheese, this recipe includes roasted butternut squash puree, as well as steamed broccoli and kale.  The butternut squash thickens the sauce and brings that lovely orange color reminiscent of the blue box we all grew up with. 

Butternut Mac & Cheese
1 cup cooked butternut squash (I roasted a 4 pound squash, and reserved the rest.  You can also substitute frozen butternut squash puree.)
3/4 -1 cup milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
1/2-1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp paprika
salt and pepper
8 oz. pasta (I used wheat rotini)
2-3 cups vegetables (I used broccoli and kale)

Bring pasta water to a boil in a large saucepan.  Add pasta and cook for about half the directed time.  Add in vegetables for the last few minutes of cooking time to lightly steam.  Drain and reserve about a cup of pasta water in case your sauce needs to be thinned (mine did not).
In a blender, puree the butternut squash with the milk.  Season with mustard, paprika and salt and pepper. 
Return pasta and vegetables to saucepan, pour in the butternut squash mixture, and stir in shredded cheese until melted.  Add reserved pasta water as necessary to thin the sauce to desired consistency.
I served mine straight from the pot, but you can also bake this in a 375 degree oven to brown the top.


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