(Recipe can be found on Tasty Kitchen site here.)
Step by Step Instructions:
To make this crazy easy, and healthy, dish you will need the following: Grated Parmesan Cheese, Grated Romano Cheese, Butternut Squash (recipe calls for 1 whole squash), Skim Milk, Panko bread crumbs (I couldn’t find the whole wheat Panko), Butter, Nutmeg, Dijon Mustard, Part-Skim Ricotta, Whole Wheat Elbow Pasta, and Your Favorite Cheddar Cheese (I used a mix of Cheddar Jack Cheese, pictured above, and a little Medium Cheddar Cheese as well).
The recipe has you bake the whole squash in the oven and scoop the squash out after baking. Since I had already peeled and cubed the butternut squash, I decided to put about 1.5 pounds of squash on a lined cookie sheet.
If doing this method, roast them for about 30 minutes at 425 degrees until they were tender.
Then I put the baked squash in a bowl and mashed them with a potato masher. I found that to be a more effective method than using a fork.
In the meantime go ahead and boil pasta water and add the pasta. Cook as directed on the package.
While the pasta cooks, combine the mashed squash with 1 cup of milk over medium high heat in a medium saucepan until it comes to a simmer.
To get the squash and milk mixture a little smoother, I decided to use my boat motor (or hand-held blender, which isn’t nearly as fun of a name).
Then it’s time for cheese! So add 1/4 cup of ricotta and 1 1/2 cups of your favorite cheddar cheese (here I used 1 cup of a Cheddar Jack mixture and 1/2 cup of Medium Cheddar cheese), 1/2 tsp. of dijon mustard, and a dash of grated nutmeg (which is a must).
Mix until it’s well combined and set aside.
When the pasta is cooked add it to the sauce and combine it.
Pour the pasta and sauce mixture into a casserole dish that is sprayed lightly with cooking spray.
Then in a small bowl make the topping. Add to the bowl 2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, 1 Tbsp. Romano Cheese, 2 Tbsp. Panko Bread Crumbs, and 1 Tbsp. of melted butter.
Using a fork or spoon mix until the topping is well combined.
Sprinkle the topping on the macaroni and cheese.
Then bake the dish at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes until the top of the casserole is browned.
Doesn’t this look delicious?! It’s a must try and may just convert those veggie haters in your life!
1 whole Butternut Squash
1 cup 1% Milk
1-½ cup Cheddar Cheese
¼ cups Part-skim Ricotta Cheese
½ teaspoons Dijon Mustard
1 dash Fresh Grated Nutmeg
8 ounces, weight Whole Wheat Elbow Macaroni
2 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 Tablespoon Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
2 Tablespoons Whole Wheat Panko Bread Crumbs
1 Tablespoon Melted Butter
1. Cut the butternut squash in half, lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and whatnot. Place cut side down in a large casserole dish in about 1 inch of water and roast at 350ºF for about an hour. Once cooled, scoop out the squash and puree or mash with a large fork until smooth. If you don’t feel like going all Martha Stewart and breaking out the roasting pan, go ahead and buy the frozen pureed squash from the store. I won’t tell anyone! It costs a little more but it works just as well. Allow the frozen squash to thaw first.
2. Preheat the oven to 375ºF and lightly spray a casserole dish with cooking spray. 3. Combine the milk and 3/4 cup of the squash puree in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture just barely to a simmer, remove from heat and stir in the cheddar and ricotta cheese, mustard and nutmeg.
3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and stir in the elbow macaroni and cook according to package directions.
4. Toss the drained macaroni in a large bowl with the cheese mixture.
5. Pour into the prepared casserole dish.
6. Stir together the Parmesan and Romano cheese with the panko and butter. Sprinkle the panko-parmesan topping over the casserole and bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown. This is a great way to get your little ones to eat more veggies!