Mac N Cheese, Sans Guilt
1 lb box whole wheat pasta (I used Barilla Plus Rotini – extra Omega-3s, protein and whole grains , and tastes great!)
½ yellow onion
1 cup pureed butternut squash
½ cup fat free evaporated milk
1 cup chicken broth
2 ounces cheddar cheese of your choice
2 ounces Gruyere or fontina cheese (any semi-hard, melting cheese will work great here, but Gruyere is readily available and not too pricey. Other options are Edam, Havarti.)
½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
½ cup fat free Greek yogurt (Fat free plain yogurt or sour cream also works well) ½ cup Egg Beaters or egg substitute
1 ½ cups of cooked broccoli (other vegetables such as cauliflower and carrots work too) 1 Teaspoon dry mustard, ground
½ teaspoon cayenne powder
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon thyme
Salt and Pepper
Optional toppings: 2 Tablespoons bread crumbs, 2 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9’’ x 13’’ casserole dish with a healthy oil.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt the water and cook pasta according to directions. With whole wheat pastas, it’s better to cook them a little longer than to leave them ‘al dente,’ as they have a tougher texture. When fully cooked, drain and set aside.
- While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a medium saucepan. Grate onion into the oil and allow to sauté briefly. Add garlic and allow to sweat.
- After about a minute, add your pureed squash, chicken stock and evaporated milk to the saucepan. Bring this mixture to a boil and allow to simmer until it reduces down by about half and thickens. This should take about 10 minutes over medium heat. Keep an eye on it and stir occasionally.
- Now add your seasonings – dry mustard, cayenne, paprika and thyme. If you like a dash of Worchester or Tabasco in your macaroni and cheese, add it here.
- Reduce heat to low and add your cheeses – stir in ricotta and grated cheeses. Allow to melt. Taste. Good, huh?
- Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly, then mix in Greek yogurt and egg beaters. Combine with well-drained pasta and broccoli.
- Pour into casserole dish, season and top with bread crumbs and parmesan cheese if desired. Cook in oven until set and golden brown on top, about 25 minutes.