Stealth Health Mac and Cheese
Kids will never guess just how loaded with good-for-them vegetables this pasta favorite is. The “cream sauce” is actually puréed butternut squash, and finely grated carrot and zucchini melt into the casserole as it cooks. Serve with a tossed salad.
1 lb. peeled, cubed butternut squash
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
4 oz. whole-wheat macaroni
1 1⁄2 tsp. olive oil
1⁄2 cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped celery (3 ribs)
1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp.)
1 large carrot, finely grated (3⁄4 cup)
1 large zucchini, finely grated (3⁄4 cup)
1⁄4 cup jarred roasted red pepper, drained and chopped, optional
- Preheat oven to 350˚F. Coat 6- x 6-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Add butternut squash, and boil 20 to 25 minutes, or until very tender. Remove to large bowl with slotted spoon. Mash with potato masher, and stir in 1⁄4 cup cheese. Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and set aside.
- Cook macaroni in same pot of boiling water 2 minutes fewer than recommended time. Drain, and run under cold water in colander.
- Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and garlic, and sauté 3 to 5 minutes, or until translucent. Stir into mashed butternut squash purée. Add carrot, zucchini, roasted red pepper, if using, and pasta, and stir until mixture is coated with squash purée. Spread 1⁄3 pasta mixture in prepared baking dish, and sprinkle with 1⁄4 cup cheese. Repeat layering pasta and cheese twice, ending with a final sprinkling of cheese. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until top is crisp and brown, and casserole is bubbling hot.
Unit (Serving Size):
per 1 1/2-cup serving