Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
This butternut squash mac and cheese was a bit of an experiment, that turned into a very nice surprise. Every couple of months I make a point of going through my freezer, to make sure I use up all of the food that I took the time to prepare or purchase, before it gets lost in there. What I found was 1 cup of frozen butternut squash puree.
When I asked myself what the heck am I going to do with 1 cup of butternut squash puree, pasta sauce was the first thing that came to mind. It’s smooth and creamy – it would make a perfect sauce. So I made a cheese sauce and added the puree.
What I wasn’t expecting was that the sweetness and the colour immediately reminded me of the very familiar taste of boxed mac and cheese, that so many kids can’t get enough of. Only in a much more tasty, homemade and of course healthy, sort of way. And without all those additives. So if you are trying to break your kids of the boxed mac and cheese habit, this would be a good place to start.
- 3 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onions
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup shredded old cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup butternut squash puree*
- dash pepper
- Put on a large pot of water to boil and cook macaroni according to package directions.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan, over medium/low heat.
- Add the onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the flour, stirring to combine and cook 1 minute more.
- Add the milk, a bit at a time to prevent lumps, increase heat to medium and stir constantly until thickened.
- Once thickened, removed the saucepan from the heat and stir in the cheddar and Parmesan cheese, until melted.
- Stir in the butternut squash puree and a dash of pepper.
- Add the sauce to the cooked & drained macaroni and stir until combined.
- Season with salt, to taste.
Wash then cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and discard. Place the squash halves, cut sided down, on a baking sheet and add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Roast in a 350°F oven for about 40 minutes or until very soft, adding more water if necessary.
Scrape out the cooked squash and place it in a food processor or blender. Blend, adding just enough water to make a nice smooth puree.
Reserve 1 cup of the puree for the Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese.
The extra puree can be saved for another use.