Thursday, March 5, 2015

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

The age old comfort food: mac & cheese.  Whether is it comes in a small blue box or made from scratch, this dish always is a crowd pleaser.

How many times have you gone to a restaurant and seen truffle or bacon Mac & cheese and immediately began to to salivate? Perhaps it's because of childhood memories or maybe it's just an immense love of cheese. For me, it's both. Growing up my mom made mac and cheese pretty often but almost never from the box - always from scratch. I loved how when taking a bite, strings of cheese would stretch from fork to mouth. As a kid, it was fun to see how far it could stretch. I loved the fun of it just as much as the flavor. 

However, the older I get the more guilty I feel when making it. I load on the cheese like there is no tomorrow then of course I dive in and  eat until I can't possibly eat anymore. Is that the smartest move? Definitely not! So typically I avoid cooking it.

I had a craving recently and wanted to find a way to incorporate veggies and still make it delicious. In no time I found a recipe for butternut squash mac and cheese. I whipped up a batch as soon as I possibly could and omg it was so delicious!! And guilt free too!!!

1 bag of frozen cubed butternut squash, thawed
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
8 oz gluten free elbow macaroni or any tube shipped noodle
2 1/2 cups milk
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp gluten free flour
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
1 cup  shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1) Place thawed butternut squash in a bowl and microwave on high for 3 to 5 minutes until heated through.
2) Meanwhile , cook macaroni according to package directions, drain well. Set aside.
3) Add heated butternut squash to  blender and puree until smooth. Add in 1/2 cup of the milk and puree again. This will help thin out the butternut squash before adding to the cheese.
4) In a large skillet over medium heat, add the butter. When the butter is melted whisk in the flour. Add the nutmeg. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes, whisking constantly, or until flour mixture smells nutty. Add the remaining 2 cups of milk and whisk until mixture is smooth. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil while continuing to whisk. After sauce has thickened, turn heat to low and whisk in butternut squash mixture and cheeses. Stir in rosemary and continue to stir until cheese is melted. Add cooked macaroni to the pan and stir until the macaroni noodles are well coated. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

The great thing about this meal was the perfect balance between the gooey stringy cheese and the delicious (and healthy) squash! 

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