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Health & Food

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

When I was young the only mac and cheese I would eat was Velveeta Shells and Cheese. I hated Kraft (I know, crazy, a kid who didn’t like Kraft?!) and I cringed when my mom told me she was making homemade mac and cheese (I would die for some of that today!). I never would have imagined that twenty years later I’d be enjoying something like butternut squash mac and cheese, with non other than nutritional yeast as an ingredient.Heather recommended I try this butternut squash mac and cheese from Cooking Light magazine. It sounded delicious, but as always I knew I would have to make some “Gina tweaks”. As most recipes do, this one had garlic, which I had to omit due to my low FODMAPs diet restrictions (although there are several other FODMAPs in this recipe, so it’s tough to make FODMAPs-free or even low FODMAPs). But I can assure you that the garlic was not missed in this recipe. Even my garlic-sweating fiance can attest to that one. Here is the original recipe, with my modifications in red.

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
(Adapted from Cooking Light)

Makes ~8 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cupscubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 [1-pound] squash)
  • 1 1/4 cupsfat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cupsfat-free milk (unsweetened almond milk, vanilla)
  • 2 garlic cloves (omitted)
  • 1 teaspoonkosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoonsfat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/4 cups(5 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 1 cup(4 ounces) grated pecorino Romano cheese (substituted 1 cup grated parmesan)
  • 1/4 cup(1 ounce) finely grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided (substituted 1/4 cup nutritional yeast)
  • 1 pounduncooked cavatappi (substituted gluten free penne pasta to make it lower FODMAPs)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 teaspoonolive oil
  • 1/2 cuppanko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 2 tablespoonschopped fresh parsley

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375°.

  1. Combine squash, broth, and milk in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Place the hot squash mixture in a blender. Add salt, pepper, and Greek yogurt. Remove the center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Place blended squash mixture in a bowl; stir in Gruyère, parmesan, and nutritional yeast. Stir until combined.
  3. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain well. Add pasta to squash mixture, and stir until combined. Spread mixture evenly into a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.
  4. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add panko, and cook for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat. Sprinkle evenly over the hot pasta mixture. Lightly coat topping with cooking spray.
  5. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with parsley, and serve immediately.NOTE:  For those of you who are vegan, try this with a soy or rice cheese, or even Daiya cheese (it melts really well). And of course use a vegetable broth instead of chicken.

I hadn’t had mac and cheese in a really, really long time. Neither had Nick. We both gobbled this up pretty fast. It was delicious, and Nick didn’t even know he was eating nutritional yeast. Muahaha.Neither of us really tasted the butternut squash, but we weren’t too surprised since the recipe’s main ingredients (the cheese!) had pretty powerful flavors. I will certainly be making this again.

Nutrition Facts
(for 1/8 of the recipe)

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