Try this new twist on a classic family favorite and delight everyone in the family. Butternut squash adds to the nutrient value of this recipe without sacrificing flavor.  Feel free to adjust the types of cheese you use and the amounts based on your flavor preferences.  We have tried it with a variety of variations and have never been disappointed. This recipe was adapted from skinnytaste.com.

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound of whole wheat elbow pasta
  • Olive oil spray
  • 1 pound of cubed butternut squash (frozen works equally well)
  • 1 ½ cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth, divided
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp  grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • ½ cup shredded gruyere cheese or another cheese of your choice (I would advise against mozzarella, as it becomes too stringy)
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese (or use 1 cup if omitting the gruyere cheese)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 9” x 11” glass baking dish with oil and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Fill one medium pot and one large pot with salted water, and bring both to boil.
    1. Add pasta to the large pot of boiling water and cook according to package directions. When cooked, drain and put back into the pot. Remove from the hot burner.
    2. Add butternut squash cubes to the medium pot of boiling water and continue boiling until tender, about 5-6 minutes. If using frozen, cook for 2-3 additional minutes. Alternatively, you may microwave your frozen butternut squash following the directions on the packaging.
  4. When tender, drain the squash in a colander and transfer the squash into a blender. Add ½ cup broth, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth.
  5. Melt butter in a medium sauce pot over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour evenly over the shallots and cook another minute.
  6. Add the remaining 1 cup broth and milk and whisk to combine. Add cayenne pepper if using. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, whisking frequently.
  7. Remove the pot from heat and whisk in cheese, pureed squash, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and pepper. You may add up to 1 cup additional cheese if you prefer it cheesier. 
  8. Pour cheese sauce over noodles and stir to combine.
  9. Once combined, transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.
  10. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top and bake for 25 minutes. 
  11. Once bubbly, switch the oven to broil and broil on high for 2-3 minutes to lightly brown the breadcrumbs.
Chef Amy

Recipe compliments of Home Chef and OPL CMO Amy Bates.

Learn more about Amy.

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