Hi there, it’s Erika Monroe-Williams from The Hopeless Housewife, so nice to “meet” you! I started my website/food blog after doing a lot of television cooking segments and wanting a place for viewers to find my recipes and it just grew from there. Shortly after I started the website I was chosen to be on the ABC show “The Taste” with Anthony Bourdain and Nigella Lawson and let me tell you, that was a dream come true!! Here I was, cooking in the kitchen with the people I most admired in the industry! I had to pinch myself. Now I have to pinch myself that I am blogging for BHG.com’s Delish Dish! I grew up cooking out of Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks (I have some handed down from my grandmother that are SO old but still amazing), so this is truly and honor.
Let’s get started! I have really been up to my ears in comfort food this winter. Boy, oh boy, have I overdone it. Like, seriously. If it had cheese on it, I ate it. Bacon? It was gone in a second. I am ready to lighten things up but it’s still cold outside so I want my comfort food! I found this incredible-looking recipe on BHG.com for Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese that looked so delicious so I changed some things around a little and made this lightened up version. Because of the moist and flavorful butternut squash, this will still be gooey and flavorful even with low fat milk and reduced fat cheese…and, sigh…no bacon. But seriously, you won’t miss any of these things!
Here’s how you make it. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. I used already cut-up butternut squash that was packaged at Trader Joe’s to make things easy. Instead of boiling the squash in the milk like the original recipe, I steamed the chunks until they were tender, about 15 minutes.
Start cooking the pasta. I decided to use penne instead of rigatoni. Follow the directions on the box then drain and set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, sauté the onions. In a skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of the butter over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.
While the pasta is cooking, start the cheese mixture. This is where I lightened things up. I used 1% milk, low fat cheddar and omitted the bacon. In a small bowl, whisk 1/4 cup of the milk with the flour. Set aside.
In a heavy saucepan, heat the remaining milk over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Whisk in flour mixture and bring to a simmer. Add the butternut squash and onions and continue to cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the cheese and stir until it melts. Add the drained pasta.
Pour the pasta mixture into an oven-proof baking dish and sprinkle with bread crumbs. I used 1/2 the amount of bread crumbs and no extra butter or cheese on top.
Pop in the oven for 10-12 minutes then serve immediately.
For the original recipe, click here: Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese.
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