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Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

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Ingredients

for the butternut squash

  • 1 butternut squash, sliced in half, seeds scooped out (save the seeds)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

for the pasta

  • 1 pound whole wheat elbow pasta
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups 2% milk, plus more for adding at the end

For the roasted seeds

  • Seeds from squash, rinsed, patted dry, and left out to dry completely
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil

Instructions

for the squash

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
  2. Rub each half of your de-seeded squash with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper
  3. Place both halves on a baking sheet cut side down and roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the squash is very tender when pierced with a fork (time will vary based on the size of your squash)
  4. Let the squash cool for a few minutes when it comes out of the oven
  5. Once it has cooled a bit, scoop all the squash out from the skin with a spoon and puree in a food processor until it’s totally smooth. You can also mash it by hand with a fork if you don’t have a food processor

For the seeds

  1. Lower your oven to 300 degrees
  2. Separate the seeds from the pulp of the squash, rinse them very well, and pat them dry with paper towels. You’ll also ideally want to let them sit out and dry for a bit so they get even crispier (I do this step before I even roast the squash, so they have that 45 mins – 1 hour to dry out)
  3. Add the seeds to a baking sheet, toss with your 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil, and season them with salt and pepper
  4. Roast for 15 minutes

for the pasta

  1. Bring a large pot of salted (it should taste like the ocean) water to a boil. When boiling, add your pasta and cook according to your box’s instructions. Drain in a colander when it is done
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, add your butternut squash puree and milk, whisk until it has formed into one smooth, uniform sauce. Bring it to a simmer and let it cook for just a few minutes
  3. Remove it from the heat and add your cheeses. Season to taste with salt and pepper
  4. Stir in your pasta until it is all evenly coated in the sauce. If it is too thick, add extra milk 1/4 cup at a time until it has reached the consistency you want
  5. Top each bowl with the roasted seeds when serving!

Notes

If you stir the seeds in, you will still get the yummy flavor, but they will lose their crispiness, so I recommend topping each bowl with them when serving rather than stirring them all into the finished pot

You can lighten this up even more by adding reduced fat cheddar cheese instead of regular

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