Macaroni and Four Cheeses w/ Winter Squash

I made this last year for my mothers birthday. As a kid we got to pick what we wanted for dinner on our birthday and last year I was in town for her birthday and wanted to make her something special. She picked macaroni and cheese and I found this recipe on the food network website. My mom said she would give it a try and that is sounded good but I didn't tell the rest of my family because I am sure they would have stuck their nose up at it. However when it came time to eat, my niece was going back for thirds and no one mentioned that the macaroni and cheese tasted funny. After everyone was done eating I let them in on the secret ingredient and my sister said she would have never guessed it. It does have a different taste to is because it is not just cheese and pasta and it is more creamier and moist than your usual macaroni and cheese. However, I love it and this is the only macaroni and cheese I make now. You can mix and match different cheeses, this is just the basic recipe and what I used in the picture above. I have made this with smoked Gouda and mozzarella cheese. There is something comforting about macaroni and cheese but there is also something comforting about knowing that you don't have to feel guilty after eating.

  • 1 lb rotini pasta
  • 2 (10 oz) packages frozen pureed winter squash
  • 2 c. fat free milk
  • 1 1/3 c. extra sharp cheddar, grated
  • 2/3 c. Monterrey jack cheese, grated
  • 1/2 c. part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. powdered mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. unseasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. olive oil

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Coat 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Cook pasta until tender but firm, about 5 to 8 minutes. Drain.
  3. Meanwhile, place the frozen squash and milk into a large saucepan and cook over low hea, stirring occasionally and breaking up the squash with a spoon as it thaws. Turn the heat up to medium and cook until the mixture is almost simmering, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Monterrey, cheddar, ricotta, salt, mustard and cayenne.
  5. Pour pasta into the cheese mixture and stir to combine. Transfer pasta and cheese to the baking dish.
  6. Combine bread crumbs, oil and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta and cheese.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, then broil for 3 minutes so the top is crisp and browned


Debbi Smith said...

I have the same recipe I use. No one but my Kraft die hards noticed it and they all liked it.

Kari said...

awesome! I am going to make mac & cheese for Cadence's birthday tomorrow, thanks! I'll be using this recipe! :)