Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Martha's Mac n' Cheese

Having a toddler who's favorite dish is macaroni and cheese, I am always looking for great ways to prepare it as healthy as possible. I think I found the ultimate perfect dish this time! This is the recipe I am sticking with! I don't know what I am going to do when butter nut squash isn't in season next spring and summer! This is a recipe I could eat all three meals a day every day of the week and not get sick of it, I am serious. It's THAT good. Please do yourselves a favor and make this soon, you have no idea what you are missing out on! It makes a lot too, so you can have left overs for days, unless you are serving it to company, then no promises that there will be any left!

Healthy Macaroni and Cheese
Recipe by Martha Stewart

1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into one inch cubes.
1 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 cups milk
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp. coarse salt plus more for the water
1 lb. elbow macaroni (I used whole wheat)
4 oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated (about 1 cup). We got low fat cheddar on accident and it was still really good, you couldn't even tell the difference.
1/2 cup part skim ricotta (we used whole milk ricotta...made up for the fat in the cheddar! : )
4 Tb. Parmesan cheese, finely grated
2 Tb. panko bread crumbs
1 Tb. olive oil
olive oil cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375
Combine squash, stock and milk in a medium sauce pan; bring to boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 20 minutes until squash is tender enough to be pierced with a fork. Turn off the heat and mash the contents in the pot. Stir in the nutmeg, cayenne and salt and season with pepper.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in squash mixture, cheddar, ricotta and 2 Tb. Parmesan.
Lightly coat a 9 inch square baking dish (4 inches deep) with cooking spray. Transfer noodle mixture to dish. In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, remaining Parmesan and olive oil and sprinkle evenly over noodles.
Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking another 30-40 minutes until it's brown and crispy on top. Serve immediately. YUM.

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