Squashed Mac and Cheese

>> Thursday, April 9, 2009

This dish is adapted from several recipes I found online. It has hidden squash to make it radioactively orange and slightly healthier than plain old ooey-gooey mac and cheese. The squash makes it a little sweet so make sure you taste it and adjust the salt and cheese to make sure it tastes like macaroni and CHEESE instead of just macaroni and squash.

Also: I made this with gluten-free pasta shells. If you don't HAVE to eat gluten-free pasta then by all means do NOT. I have tried half a dozen gluten-free pastas. Rice based, potato based, you name it. They really can't come close to good old Barilla BUT those among us with wheat-hating tummies must soldier on and fight the good fight. I'd rather eat bad pasta than no pasta so there you have it.

This dish lends itself to many variations, try adding some sauteed shallots or garlic for a punched-up flavor or add fresh peas or chopped red pepper for even more veggie goodness.

Bon Apetit!

- 1 lb macaroni/shells
- 2 10 oz pkgs of frozen squash
- 1 1/2 cup milk
- 2 cups extra sharp cheddar
- 2 cups gruyere
- 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 cup blue cheese
- 1 tbs salt (more to taste)
- 1 tsp. powdered mustard
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan

Cook the pasta until just barely al dente then strain

Preheat oven to 375

Grate cheeses and reserve parmesan and 1/4 cup of cheddar and 1/4 cup of gruyere to sprinkle on top

Mix the squash and the milk in a large saucepan over medium high heat until it just begins to simmer

Add cheese and spices to the squash and milk and whisk together

Pour pasta into the cheese sauce mixture and stir until pasta is coated with sauce

Pour into greased 9"x13" casserole dish

Sprinkle reserved cheese on top

Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until sauce bubbles and top begins to brown


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