Forewarning: This is not a salad.
It will not be the lightest thing you eat today, perhaps. It is mac and cheese, after all.
What it is is delicious, creamy, gluten free, and packed with vitamin C and beta-carotene from that butternut squash.
Feel free to swap whole milk for the almond milk, and regular pasta for the brown rice pasta. Play around with the cheeses, using gruyere, monterey jack, or a blend. Hard to go wrong.
Anyone else’s kid requesting macaroni and cheese every moment of every day of every week right now? This fits the bill, and even though my son is like a detective trying to sniff out any unapproved nutrition, he gobbles it up. At least for today, who knows about next week? I’ll report back.
Creamy Butternut Mac & Cheese
1 lb. gluten free elbow or penne, I use Trader Joe’s brown rice penne for this
1 medium sized butternut squash
Unsalted butter, for greasing dish
Olive oil, for roasting squash
2 cups milk, I used unsweetened plain almond milk but you could use whole or skim
1.5 lbs sharp cheddar cheese, grated
½ cup parmesan, grated
⅛ tsp. ground nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the squash in half lengthwise, remove seeds, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Roast for about 35-40 minutes, until squash is quite tender. Let cool for long enough to handle it easily.
While squash is roasting, cook your pasta in boiling salted water until not quite al dente… 3 minutes shy of where you want it. Strain and set aside.
Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
Measure out 3 cups of the butternut squash and place in a large saucepan or pot. The macaroni will eventually go in here so you want to have room.
Add milk and cook over medium heat until you see steam.
Using an immersion blender, or whisk if that’s what you have, puree squash mixture until smooth. You could also do this in a blender.
Add grated cheddar, ⅛ tsp nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook about 5 minutes until all cheese is melted.
Add reserved pasta to the cheese sauce and stir until all the pasta is coated.
Butter a large baking dish and transfer pasta into it.
Sprinkle the grated parmesan over the top.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until bubbling, then turn on the broiler and broil for a couple of minutes to get that nice golden top.
Let cool for 20 minutes or so before serving.