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Vegetables

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese with Cheesy Bread Crumbs

A butternut squash purée adds to the creaminess of this baked mac and cheese. The uncooked elbow pasta cooks straight in the sauce skipping a step in a perfect winter comfort food.

Serves 8
Ready in 80 mins
Prep time 20 mins
Cooking time 60 mins
571 calories per serving

Ingredients

> 2 (14 oz) pkgs Nature's Promise® Organic Butternut Squash
> 2 cups 4% milkfat cottage cheese
> 2 cups whole milk
> 2 tsp Dijon mustard
> 1 tsp hot sauce
> Cooking spray
> 2 cups coarsely grated cheddar cheese (from 8 oz pkg), divided
> 5 slices (4 oz) American cheese, cut into small pieces
> 1 (16 oz) box uncooked elbow pasta
> 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
> 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
> 2 tbsp olive oil
> 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

Steps

1
Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut the butternut squash into 1-inch pieces. To a microwave-safe medium dish, add butternut squash and 3 tbsp water. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with vented plastic and microwave 8–10 min., until tender. Drain and cool slightly.
2
To a blender or food processor, add half of the cooked butternut squash, cottage cheese, milk, mustard, and hot sauce. Season well with salt and pepper. Purée until smooth.
3
Coat the inside of a 9x13-inch baking dish with the cooking spray. To a large bowl, add squash purée, butternut squash pieces, 1½ cups Cheddar cheese, and American cheese. Stir in the uncooked pasta. Transfer pasta mixture to baking dish and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 30 min.
4
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine remaining ½ cup grated Cheddar with bread crumbs, Parmesan, oil, and thyme. Uncover the mac and cheese after 30 min. and top with bread crumb mixture. Continue to bake 30 min. more, until pasta is fully cooked and mixture is bubbly. Let mac and cheese rest for 10 min. before cutting to serve.

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