Healthy Macaroni and Cheese

Ricotta and pureed squash give this slimmed-down but familiar dish its creaminess.

  • Servings: 6
Healthy Macaroni and Cheese

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 Chicken Stock
  • 1 1/2 cups nonfat milk
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more for water
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 4 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 4 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese (1 ounce)
  • 2 tablespoons fine breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Olive-oil cooking spray

Directions

  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. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil; add salt. 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. 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, the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan, and oil; sprinkle evenly over noodle mixture.

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

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