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Macaroni and Cheese with Butternut Squash

Ricotta and pureed squash give this familiar dish its creaminess.

  • servings: 6
Photography: Sang An

Ingredients

  • 1 small butternut squash (about 1 pound), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
  • 1 cup homemade or low-sodium canned chicken stock, skimmed of fat
  • 1 1/2 cups nonfat milk
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 4 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated (about 1 cup)
  • 4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, finely grated (1 ounce)
  • 2 tablespoons fine breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Olive-oil, cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

Directions

  1. Step 1

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine squash, stock, and milk in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Mash contents of saucepan; stir in nutmeg, cayenne, and salt, and season with black pepper. Stir to combine.

  2. Step 2

    Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles; cook until al dente according to package instructions, about 8 minutes. Drain, and transfer to a large bowl; stir in squash mixture, cheddar, ricotta, and 2 tablespoons Parmesan.

  3. Step 3

    Lightly coat a 9-inch square baking dish (4 inches deep) with cooking spray. Transfer noodle mixture to dish. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan, and oil; sprinkle evenly over noodle mixture.

  4. Step 4

    Cover with foil, and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil, and continue baking until lightly browned and crisp on top, 30 to 40 minutes more. Serve immediately.

Source
Martha Stewart Living

Reviews (18)

  • 24 Sep, 2013

    This recipe is excellent -- SO flavorful and rich. However, instead of boiling the squash, I cut it lengthwise and roasted it cut side down at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. The aroma was heaven! And next time I will add mozzarella, as it was just slightly less creamy than traditional Mac.

    I analyzed the recipe at Calorie Count and one serving has about 460 calories, 10 grams of fat, 70 grams of carbs, and 21 grams of protein. I ate this with a salad and it was a good meal!

  • 25 Jul, 2013

    Loved this recipe! and so did my family!
    My 7 year old proclaimed "this was the best macaroni & cheese he's ever had in his whole 7 yrs! Much better than the box!"
    I actually did not use the ricotta cheese ( not a family favorite) or oil and it still turned out great.

  • 30 Dec, 2012

    Loved the recipe and will make it more often. The flavors re amazing. Instead of Parmesan with the bread crumbs I used Gruyère.

  • 27 Oct, 2012

    This has almost no flavor! What flavor it does have is nice, but, it needs a lot of help, definitely more nutmeg and cayenne, maybe some asiago and romano. I don't see how anyone can "love" this recipe unless they love plain pasta. But, maybe my squash was just a dud.

  • 25 Feb, 2012

    I have become a big fan of this recipe, but if you are looking for a little more flavor you gotta be heavy handed with the cayenne! I actually add the cayenne, nutmeg, and another "everyday use" (trader joe's brand) spice while it cooks in the milk and stock. It really gets that flavor in, and gives it more punch when you eat it.

  • 17 Oct, 2011

    My family LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this recipe. No one even suspected there was the healthy addition of squash. It was like about the best Mac and Cheese I have ever eaten. I did add a wee bit of Dijon mustard. Not so much that you even knew it was there, but it added a complexity to the dish. This one rises to our favorites list!

  • 19 Sep, 2011

    Love this, but with a few variations. I didn't have ricotta on hand so I substituted cream cheese, and liked the texture before baking it. Next time I'll stop there - it was a little dry after baking. Also I won't use a whole pound of macaroni next time. I prefer more sauce.

  • 29 Aug, 2011

    This was super easy but it tasted so unbelievably bland. And pretty dry. I added garlic and onion and double th cayenne. I also added some sage to the bread crumb topping. Still not worth making again.

  • 30 May, 2011

    I thought this recipe was great! Just enough squash making it perfectly creamy. I guess the amount of cheese and squash depends on your preferred texture, but I thought this was just perfect. I also added some fresh sage and found it a tasty savoury addition.

  • 19 Apr, 2011

    The one I made ended up too squashy - next time I will halve the squash and double the cheese. It wasn't bad, but was more like macaroni and squash than macaroni and cheese. This is the second macaroni I've tried that included squash - I do like that it seems like the squash keeps the ingredients from separating when reheating. I hate when you reheat cheese or cream sauces and the grease separates from the solids - probably helps that there is not a lot of grease in this to begin with.

  • 4 Feb, 2011

    Overall this was a good dish. It came out on the dry side. I mixed the leftovers with some ground turkey and vegetables and it was very good!

  • 27 Oct, 2009

    http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/marthas-macaroni-and-cheese?autonomy... and cheese is my daughter's FAVORITE, but I wanted a healthier version that I could sneak by my kids. My daughter asked for seconds and 5 year old son declared it "yummy." If I hadn't cut up and pureed the squash myself--I'd not know it was in there either (and I hate squash!)

  • 10 Feb, 2009

    This was surprisingly delicious! You can use a 10-oz. package of frozen squash, just throw it in a pot with the milk and broth and heat until it thaws completely. It will seem like a lot of liquid but if you cook the macaroni only to very al dente, the pasta will soak up the liquid during baking and you won't have a runny casserole.

  • 23 Jan, 2009

    I've adapted this recipe to accommodate my daughter's dairy allergy. I substitute Light Soy Milk, Goat Cheddar, Chevre and Pecorino romano cheese. Plus I add soybeans and broccoli along with sauteed onions, bell pepper and mushrooms!! Who said Mac and Cheese can't be healthy?!!?

  • 23 Jan, 2009

    This was delicious, but a bit dry. It was a great way to sneak squash past my picky eaters. I added roasted tomatoes to the dish. It was a perfect rainy day meal.

  • 11 Nov, 2008

    A great way to get nutrition into a favorite meal. Way more nourishing than anything from a box or freezer, and even more delicious. I've even sneaked some greens into this, both pureed and sauteed with even more delight!

  • 2 Apr, 2008

    This is wonderful, especially when made with whole grain macaroni. It is easy, light and filling.

  • 30 Nov, 2007

    Lindsey made this for Christian and Tara......Dec. 1,2007