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butternut squash macaroni and cheese with a wood spoon

Creamy Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese with Kale

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Yield: serves 8-10 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Creamy butternut squash mac and cheese is your weeknight answer to a satisfying, lightened up meal. This recipe is meat-free, full of flavor, and makes great leftovers!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash (about 1 large squash)
  • 1 and 1/4 cups (300ml) vegetable broth or chicken broth (low sodium is fine)
  • 1 and 1/4 cups (300ml) milk*
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 pound uncooked whole wheat penne pasta (or any shape/variety)
  • optional: 1 – 2 cups (70-140g) kale, roughly chopped with stems discarded
  • 1/4 cup (60g) plain Greek yogurt*
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups (225g) shredded cheese (I like Gruyère or white cheddar here)*
  • optional: 1/3 cup (30g) whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • optional: chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Instructions

  1. Combine the squash, broth, milk, and garlic in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. (*Feel free to start the pasta, next step, during this time.) You want the squash very tender, so pierce it with a fork to make sure it is quite soft. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F (191°C).
  3. Begin the pasta. I usually do this as the squash is simmering. Boil enough water for your pasta (check the package directions), and then add a pinch of salt and the pasta. Cook the pasta just until al dente– or when the pasta is still a little firm. Add the kale, and boil for another 1-2 minutes. Drain the pasta and kale. Set aside.
  4. Pour the warm butternut squash mixture (squash + all the liquid) into a blender. Add the yogurt, salt, and pepper. Secure the lid and blend until smooth. Pour into a very large bowl and stir in the cheese until combined. It’s ok if the cheese does not fully melt. Taste the sauce– if you’d like more salt/pepper/garlic, add more.
  5. Add the pasta and kale to the bowl and stir until combined. It may seem like a lot of liquid, but the pasta will soak it up. Pour everything into a 9×13 inch baking pan, 12-inch oven safe skillet, or any 3.5-4 quart baking dish. Top with breadcrumbs and an extra sprinkle of cheese, if desired.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly on the sides. Serve with a sprinkle of parsley on top. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.

Notes

  1. Freezing Instructions: Great freezer recipe! Prepare the recipe through step 5, cover tightly, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature, and continue with step 6. Or prepare the dish in full and freeze up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature, and bake at 350°F (177°C) for 20 minutes or until warmed through.
  2. Milk: Any milk works. I typically use skim or 1%, but any dairy or nondairy milks are great.
  3. Yogurt: I always use nonfat Greek yogurt, but low fat or full fat work too. Instead of Greek yogurt, try 1/4 cup of cream cheese.
  4. Cheese: I usually use Gruyère or white cheddar cheese in this recipe, but regular cheddar or even gouda work too. For best flavor, grate it off the block. Pre-shredded cheese is typically a little drier. Feel free to use a little extra for sprinkling on top of the dish before baking.
  5. Adapted from Cooking Light.

Keywords: mac and cheese, butternut squash mac and cheese