HEALTHY BUTTERNUT SQUASH MACARONI & CHEESE
4 cups butternut squash (peeled, seeds removed, cut into 1-inch cubes)
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large shallot (finely chopped)
1/2 cup chicken stock (low-sodium)
1 pound whole wheat elbow macaroni
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated)
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano (freshly grated, plus more to garnish)
1/2 cup parsley (roughly chopped, some reserved to garnish)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
kosher salt and freshly grated black pepper (to taste)
Fill a large pot with salted water and bring to a boil.
In a medium saucepan, add the butternut squash and milk, and place over medium-high heat. Season with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until fork tender, 8-10 minutes.
To a blender, add squash and milk. Puree until smooth.
Meanwhile, place a large sauté pan over medium heat and add butter. Once melted, add the shallot, season with salt and cook until softened, 2-3 minutes. Add the squash puree, stock and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, 5 minutes. Add the cheese, stir to combine and set aside.
To the boiling water, add the macaroni and cook until al dente, about one minute less than the package instructions. Drain, reserving some pasta water.
To the sauté pan, add the pasta, parsley and some pasta water to loosen the sauce. Garnish with fresh parsley, toasted breadcrumbs and more grated cheese.
For the Breadcrumbs: Place a small sauté pan over medium heat and add olive oil. Add breadcrumbs and toast, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
– Use your favorite kind of pasta!
– Make the “cheese sauce” ahead of time. Warm and toss pasta before serving.
– Instead of butternut squash, use sweet potatoes!