I am a huge fan of comfort food, especially in the winter. One of my favorite easy, go-to comfort foods is Mac & Cheese. There's just something about short, cold days that screams cheesy, starchy goodness. And what's easier than reaching for a box of Kraft, am I right?
I usually consider Mac & Cheese a rare indulgence. But the recipe I have for you today only feels like an indulgence. The butternut squash makes the dish deliciously creamy and it's packed full of vitamin A and potassium (which most people don't get enough of).
The recipe is also super low maintenance. Although there's a decent amount of cooking time, I probably spent a total of 15 minutes actually in the kitchen. It makes about 4 servings, each serving is 325 calories with 15 grams of protein and 4 grams of fat.
Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese
2 cups whole wheat pasta, uncooked*
1 small butternut squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons shredded cheese of your choice
Cook the pasta per box directions. (I recommend doing this closer to the end so it doesn't sit for too long and get stuck together.)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out seeds and the stringy stuff with the seeds. Brush the tops of each half with 1/2 a tablespoon of olive oil each. Roast the squash until it's soft (about 40 minutes depending on the size of the squash and your oven).
Heat the other tablespoon of oil in a skillet and add the onion. Cook on very low heat for about 20 minutes until caramelized.
Once the squash and onion are done, place both in a food processor with the milk and puree. Pour the pureed sauce into a large bowl and mix in the 1/2 cup of cheese. You may need to reheat the sauce before you mix in the cheese to get it warm enough to melt the cheese.
Once the cheese is mixed into the sauce, mix in the cooked pasta.
Spoon evenly into 4 separate bowls and sprinkle a 1/2 tablespoon of cheese on top of each.
*The whole wheat pasta could easily be replaced with gluten free pasta if you prefer. Don't feel like you have to use macaroni elbows either. I was out when I made it this week, so I substituted rotini pasta and it worked just as well.
Taryn is a Los Angeles based Registered Dietitian who's passionate about helping you be your healthiest you.