The Pioneer Woman Tasty Kitchen
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White Cheddar Mac n’ Cheese with Squash and Toasted Walnuts

5.00 Mitt(s) 2 Rating(s)2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5

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Level: Easy

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Description

Creamy, cozy, and mostly healthy.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole Kabocha Squash
  • ½ cups Milk, If Needed To Puree Squash
  • ½ cups Toasted Walnuts
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound Whole Wheat Pasta (I Used Rotini)
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 whole Yellow Onion, Diced
  • 3 ounces, weight Low-fat Cream Cheese
  • 1-½ cup Vegetable Broth
  • 1 cup Shredded White Cheddar Cheese

Preparation

Cook the squash. Here’s how I did it: Slice up the squash into large pieces and place flesh side down in a large baking or roasting pan (you can really use anything—I used an aluminum cake pan). Fill the pan with water so it’s a few inches deep, enough to touch the squash but not cover it completely. Wrap the whole thing with tinfoil and bake at 350ºF until fork-tender, about 1 hour. Remove squash from pan and set aside to cool slightly. If you didn’t already toast your walnuts, just stick them on a pan and place in the oven for a few minutes.

Scrape the flesh out and puree it flesh in a blender or food processor. Add 1/2 cup milk to help the mixture puree more smoothly, if necessary. If it’s still too sticky, add a little water. Add the walnuts and puree until smooth. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Cook pasta according to directions. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and saute for several minutes until onions are golden and translucent. Stir in the squash puree and add the cream cheese. Stir until melted.

Combine the pasta with the squash sauce, adding vegetable broth as needed to get the right consistency for your sauce. For the white cheddar, stir it in so it melts, or if you prefer, divide it evenly among the bowls and sprinkle on top before serving. Or both.

Notes:
I sprinkled each bowl with some extra toasted walnuts.
The squash puree was so good, but it took a long time. For a shortcut, you can buy canned or frozen pureed squash. You’ll need enough to make about 5 cups of the puree mixture. I can usually find some at my regular grocery store at home with the canned vegetables.

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2 Reviews

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mslaura022 on 12.31.2014

This is our new mac and cheese recipe! I used two acorn squashes and the dish still turned out perfectly. Very creamy and more flavor than regular Mac and cheese in our opinion. This is one I can feel good about feeding our son.

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hunnybunnyipm on 10.8.2012

Wow, this was really, really good! I made it with butternut squash (based on what the grocery store had) and whole wheat pasta, and it was awesome. I actually didn’t even need any chicken stock or milk to thin anything out. It’s also really easy to modify for Weight Watchers (just use a low fat cheese, fat free cream cheese, and high-fiber pasta), and a great way to get the Mac and Cheese taste in a healthy way. Made it for friends with kids, and friends on WW and both groups scarfed it down! It’s a new favorite, and it’ll probably make a visit on my Thanksgiving table.

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