It’s hard to believe it’s September. Back to school, back to schedules and routines (somewhat). While the laziness, late nights, and relaxed nature of the unscheduled summer months were fun, there is something to be said for getting back to the predictability of fall and back to school season.
The need for quick and easy dinner ideas is never more necessary than right now. And macaroni and cheese is always a sure-fire way to please every member of the family. Sure, we like the classic mac and cheese as much as the next person, but we also take it as an opportunity to spice things up and use this classic pasta dish as a blank canvas for adding boatloads of flavour.
For this delicious and easy butternut squash recipe, we’ve taken advantage of the sweet winter squash that will soon be in season and added a WHOLE pureed butternut squash into the mix. We’ve also simplified the classic cheese sauce so you need just one bowl to bring the whole dish together. And with the craziness September brings, we will take all the streamlining we can get.
Any leftovers double as a fantastic school lunch for the kids. Adding in the squash to an otherwise very familiar dish is a great way to expose your kids to new flavours and textures. If it’s their first time having butternut squash, reserve some plain pasta on the side. That way there is something familiar on the table for them, they can pick and choose what they want to eat without any pressure and the whole family is still enjoying the same meal together.
So now that we are armed with a simple and delicious weeknight dinner meal, we are ready to tackle the busy fall season!
Easy Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
1 small butternut squash (about 2 lb)
1 lb pasta (any short pasta works)
1.5 cups grated old cheddar cheese
1 cup milk
1 tsp salt
1. Remove stem from squash and cut in half lengthwise. Place each half cut side down in a microwave-safe dish and cover with a lid or plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 10 minutes, or until flesh is very soft.
2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 7-9 minutes, until al dente. Reserve 2 cups of the pasta water before draining and add pasta back to the pot.
3. Once squash is just cool enough to handle, remove the flesh and transfer into a large bowl or food processor. Add cheese, milk and salt. Use an immersion blender or food processor to combine until smooth.
4. Add squash mixture to hot pasta and mix thoroughly. Add reserved pasta water, ¼ cup at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Serve immediately.