Lightened-Up Butternut Squash Mac-n-Cheese Skillet

5 years ago

[Editor's Note: Though this post was originally intended as a treat for a Halloween dinner, it would be equally at home now, when butternut squash is still very much in season and many people are looking for recipes that are decadent without going overboard. This recipe has the creaminess of cheese, but gets a big nutritional boost (and caloric bonus) from all the butternut squash mixed in. --Genie]


Happy Halloween! I hope everyone has a great time this evening passing out candy, dressing up your children to take them door to door, or trying to hustle some extra Reese's Cups from the neighbor's kids. Actually, snatch up some for me while you're at it.


Regardless of what your evening entails, here's a quick and festive dinner idea to help you get in the spirit of the season and muster up some energy. Creamy macaroni and cheese with a mix of butternut squash is something both adults and kiddies will love. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe


  • 3 cups uncooked whole wheat rotini pasta
  • 4 cups 1/2-inch cubed uncooked butternut squash
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free whole milk
  • 6 oz. freshly Muenster cheese, shredded
  • 4 tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted brown butter
  • 2 tbsp. Italian breadcrumbs
  • Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare water for pasta and once it comes to a boil, cook pasta according to directions, then drain.

While water is boiling, heat a large cast-iron (or oven-safe) skillet over medium-low heat. Add olive oil, then toss in squash with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add stock and cover skillet, cooking for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until squash is soft and can easily be mashed.

Remove cover from squash and reduce heat to low. Mash squash with a potato masher or forks, smoothing it out with a spoon to remove all of the chunks.

Add in milk, 4 oz. of Muenster and all of the Parmesan cheese, stirring until melted and smooth, about 5 minutes. If mixture still seems way too starchy, add in additional milk 1/4 cup at a time, stirring for a while. Stir in brown butter, again mixing for a minute or so until incorporated. Taste and season additionally if desired.

Fold rotini into the sauce, taking a few minutes to fully toss the shells so they are all coated. Top with remaining Muenster cheese (or as much as you see fit) and breadcrumbs and bake for 15 minutes. If a bubbly, golden topping is desired, broil for 1-2 minutes on high after cooking. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve!

Source: The Savvy Kitchen

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