hidden veggie mac and cheese

In challenge on November 15, 2011 at 11:42 pm

file this under, “we all don’t have the metabolism we used to have, but we like to eat like we do anyway.”

i would never serve him and myself a dinner of just macaroni and cheese. have you ever looked at a real mac and cheese recipe? the cream, the butter, the carbs… oh my!

but i admit to craving this childhood favorite. so when i came across a recipe purporting to be “the healthiest macaroni and cheese,” i had to take a look.

turns out, there’s a lot of veggies hidden in there. and even though there’s still plenty of cheese and carbs, i decided the rest assuaged my guilt enough.

and the flavor? well, all i can say is wow. the squash gives such a nice complex flavor, with a rich, velvety mouth-feel. i don’t think i will want regular mac and cheese ever again!

so start by peeling and chopping a medium-small butternut squash (around 2 lbs, give or take) into small cubes.

combine with 4 cups of milk and simmer until the squash is super soft.

meanwhile, ask your sous chef to grate 9 ounces of cheddar cheese (or do it yourself. phew!).

and chop up one head of cauliflower into smallsmall bits.

boil one pound of pasta for about half the time it says, then add the cauliflower and cook the rest of the way to al dente. drain.

put cheese in a large bowl with a little salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper.

when the squash is soft, take it off the heat and use a blender or immersion blender to blend until totally smooth. (add a tablespoon of mustard if you’d like for flavor. i don’t know why – it’s sort of classic mac and cheese. i didn’t here because i was out!)

combine squash with cheese and whisk until smooth. (here’s the place where you want to test for flavor. enough salt? pepper? mustard, if using?)

and then add in the cauliflower/pasta. toss well to mix.

dump into oiled (or buttered) dish – a really really big one – and top with a combination of bread crumbs and grated parmesan.

bake at 375 until bubbly, about 30 minutes.

so good! so good! so good!



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