Sunday, December 5, 2010

Healthy Macaroni and Cheese

I chose to make this macaroni and cheese not because I wanted a lighter version of macaroni and cheese (I love cheese and other full-fat dairy products), but because I wanted a different way to use up some of plentiful squash from my CSA. This is by no means as rich and creamy as macaroni cheese made with cream, full-fat cheese, and without squash, but it is thoroughly satisfying and flavorful dish. Because there is less cheese, cream, and overall than in a typical macaroni and cheese recipe, the quality of the cheese is particularly important here. I used Cedar Grove sharp cheddar, Bel Gioioso ricotta, and Hook's Parmesan, all high-quality, Wisconsin-made cheeses so my dish was not lacking for flavor. 

Healthy Macaroni and Cheese
adapted from Martha Stewart
serves 6

1 small butternut squash (about 1 pound), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
1 cup vegetable or 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 panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon olive oil
Olive-oil cooking spray

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 8 x 11-inch baking dish 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. Bake for 20 minutes until mixture is starting to bubble and bread crumbs are starting to brown. Increase oven to broil and cook until bread crumbs are toasted and brown, if desired. Serve immediately.

1 comment:

  1. So this is really a Butternut Squash M n C then. "Healthy" is just a bonus.