butternut squash mac & cheese

1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled & cubed into 1-inch pieces

1 1/4 cup low sodium chicken stock

1 1/2 cup fat free milk

1 garlic clove, chopped

2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt

1 1/4 cup shredded Gruyère cheese

1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 pound dry pasta {I used cavatappi}

1/2 cup panko

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cubed butternut squash, chicken stock, milk and garlic. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium and allow to simmer until the squash is tender, about 25 minutes. Place the squash mixture in a blender. Add the Greek yogurt and season with salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. Transfer blended squash back to the sauce pan and stir in the Gruyère, Pecorino Romano and just 2 tablespoons of Parmesan. Stir until completely combined. Meanwhile, make the pasta according to package directions; drain. Add the pasta to the squash and cheese mixture and stir combine. Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray and transfer the pasta mixture to the casserole. In a separate small bowl, combine the panko and the rest of the Parmesan cheese, stir to combine. Sprinkle the panko mixture over the top of the mac and cheese. Divide the 4 tablespoons of butter into fourths and scatter over the top of the panko. Bake, uncovered, until bubbly, about 25 minutes.

Today I am sharing one last recipe with butternut squash until next fall and this is a good one. Macaroni and cheese is by far one of my favorite guilty pleasures — there are so many variations to mac and cheese and I love experimenting with all of them! Most of them are full of fat and calories, but not this one. The butternut squash combines with just the right amount of cheese to create the most creamy mac and cheese ever. You will hardly taste the difference between this healthy version of the full calorie favorite! 

Happy cooking!

*slightly adapted from Cooking Light’s Creamy, Light Macaroni and Cheese

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