Everyone loves a family-friendly casserole to share at parties and potlucks. There’s no need to bypass the mac and cheese on the buffet table this year if you prepare this festive twist on the classic dish. Mixing in butternut squash not only adds flavor and color, but additional nutrition as well!
2 cups (10 ounces) peeled and cubed butternut squash
1/2-pound whole wheat elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup minced onion
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups low-fat (1%) milk, warmed
1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups Fontina cheese, shredded (divided use)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
Fresh sage, for garnish
In a large saucepan, cover the butternut squash with water and bring to a boil. Cook until the squash is tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, about 15 minutes. Drain the squash, return to the pan, and mash with a potato masher. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cook the macaroni according to package directions until just al dente. Drain and set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, cook and stir until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour, salt and pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the mixture becomes a light golden color. Add the warmed milk, 1/2 cup at a time, whisking until smooth. Continue to cook and stir until the mixture just begins to bubble and start boiling.
Add the mashed butternut squash, ricotta cheese, sage, and nutmeg. Mix until well combined. Stir in 1 cup of the Fontina cheese. Add the cooked pasta and stir to coat.
Lightly coat a 2-quart casserole dish or 9 x 13 pan with non-stick cooking spray. Add the pasta. Top with remaining 1 cup of Fontina cheese and the Parmesan cheese.
Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is golden and bubbly. Garnish with fresh sage, if desired.
Make ahead tip: The butternut squash can be cooked and mashed in advance and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days
Calories: 360 kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 470mg | Potassium: 420mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g
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