Our kids are nearly all full-grown, but they still love mac ‘n cheese. While I’ll allow them to occasionally lunch upon the popular box mix, I prefer to feed them a more wholesome, homemade version that’s made with real, quality – as opposed to neon-colored, powdered – cheese. Last night, I upped the health, taste, and maturity factor a little by creating a new version of the classic, adored, comfort food. This recipe includes homegrown, organic butternut squash, parmesan cheese, and fresh sage (it’s a great way to sneak more veggies into the diet!)
The butternut squash lends the dish its nice, familiar, orange color and a hint of sweetness while not intruding on its cheesy taste — you hardly even know it’s there, and that’s what we’re aiming for with picky kids, after all, isn’t it?
It’s a definite crowd-pleaser, and one I know I’ll be serving up whenever we’ve got some fresh, butternut squash on hand and a craving for mac ‘n cheese.
Here’s the recipe…
1 1/2 – 2 lbs butternut squash, peeled, cut into small cubes
1 cup heavy cream
3 fresh sage leaves
5 oz. grated, fresh parmesan cheese
16 oz. pasta (I used gemelli noodles. Rotini or penne would work just as well.)
6 tbs. butter
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Toss squash with cream, sage, salt and pepper in a large baking dish. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to directions. Drain when finished cooking, return to pot and stir in butter ’til melted.
Stir the buttered pasta into the squash once both have finished cooking. (Here you can control the texture of the squash, depending on how much mixing in you do).
Stir in half the cheese, then sprinkle the remainder on top and finish cooking, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven when finished, and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.