This pasta dish is so delightfully made up of the perfect fall ingredients, making it a more than appropriate rainy weeknight dinner. I prepared it in individual ramekins for 2, however, you can double or triple the recipe and prepare it in a regular sized casserole pan. Because I wanted this to be a quick process, I did not bake it in the oven however, you most certainly can top it with breadcrumbs and pop it under the broiler for 2-3 minutes to get that excellent crust on top of it. Combining squash and pumpkin gives this dish an excellent flavor as well as a good source of natural fiber, carotenoids, and Vitamin A. This is a lighter mac and cheese sauce consisting of low fat milk with olive oil and minimal butter- it is sure to impress your next dinner guests! Enjoy!
Pumpkin & Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese
- 1.5 cups pasta noodles of your choice (I used whole wheat rotini)
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 tbps olive oil
- 1 heaping tbsp + 2 tsp all purpose flour
- 2 cups 1% milk
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup mashed butternut squash (optional)
- 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup grated/shredded parm cheese
- Sage leaves for garnish (optional)
1. Put some water to boil on the stove to cook your pasta according to package directions.
2. Measure out your butter, olive oil, flour, and milk. Heat a sauce pan on the stove on low-medium heat and add your butter and olive oil together. Let them melt and heat slowly, do not turn up your burner – burnt olive oil is not a pleasant taste! Once you see a light sizzle happening with small bubbles, this will happen quickly, sprinkle the flour into the pan while whisking. Continue to whisk until the flour is completely dissolved- you can see this in the pictures below. Congratulations – you have made a healthy roux! This is what will thicken your sauce, well done!
3. Let your roux heat through until it smells slightly nutty, this will take less than a minute. Pour in your milk while whisking. Let the milk heat up until small bubbles appear at the top, whisk intermittently, you will see the mixture start to slowly thicken as it continues to lightly bubble. It is finished once it coats the back of a spoon, 3-5 minutes.
4. Season the sauce with the garlic powder, mustard, cayenne, and black pepper. Whisk in thoroughly.
5. Next, mix in the pumpkin and butternut squash completely. Then add in the cheese, stir thoroughly until completely melted. If the sauce is too thick for your liking, feel free to add a splash or two of milk, or more cheese, whatever 😉
6. Lastly, combine noodles with the sauce and serve immediately with sage garnish! Please note, you can also add bread crumbs and more cheese on top and broil for 2-3 minutes if you like!