Sharp cheddar and pureed winter squash create a thick and creamy sauce for this easy stove top mac and cheese. Kid-friendly, adult approved!
Cool weather, short days and sleepless nights have me craving comfort food (read: carbs) like never before. Of course, I’m also well aware that nothing saps or drains your energy like loading up on sugar or white bread.
In an attempt to find a happy medium, I created this easy and nutritious Stovetop Mac and Cheese with Winter Squash. By using whole-wheat pasta as the base, I am adding protein and fiber that will keep me from crashing an hour later. For even more vitamins and nutrients, Winter squash is pureed into the cheese sauce creating a thick and hearty texture that sticks to every shell.
This dish freezes really well and also keeps for several days making it an ideal option for a quick and healthy lunch throughout the week.
Your fork is waiting.
Winter Squash Mac and Cheese
- 1 pound whole wheat shells
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups low fat milk
- 2 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 12 ounces cooked winter squash puree (thawed if frozen)
- 1 ¾ cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (low fat)
- Cook pasta in salty water according to package instructions reducing the cook time by 1 minute to ensure al dente pasta; set aside.
- In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes whisking frequently.
- Pour in milk, broth, dry mustard, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce to low. Whisk constantly until sauce begins to thicken.
- Stir in winter squash and shredded cheese. Mix until melted, about 2-3 minutes. Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly.
- Add reserved shells to the pot and stir until noodles are evenly coated.
- Serve immediately.
And lucky for me I have a garden full of butternut squash!!! I can’t wait to try this.
Ahh you are so lucky!!
Just be warned that a tablespoon of smoked paprika is a LOT. My 10-year-old son very astutely noted that it smelled and tasted like bacon! I liked it anyway, but it you’re not a fan of that flavor, I’d tone it down.
You know it’s funny – I don’t think it’s a lot but I know that everyone has their own preference so I totally appreciate your comment!!!
Love winter squash, I bet this tastes so perfect :) can’t wait to try it!
It really was so good and I get nervous about healthy mac and cheese!
As a matter of fact, I do have winter squash puree in the freezer! But I’ve got even more squash stockpiled in the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve in a cold corner of my breakfast nook. Who am I kidding? The entire kitchen is cold, but the breakfast nook is especially cold–and perfect for stockpiling the squash from the farm share. They were coming faster than I could fix them all Fall, and now that snow has blanketed the area the farm is tucked in like my own garden beds, but I can still make these yummy mac and cheese from farm fresh veggies.
Let me know how it turns out!!