Awhile back I posted a recipe I used to replace the boxed mac and cheese and I still make this once every couple weeks to have frozen cheese sauce on hand. When my last two produce boxes from the organic food coop had a big butternut squash in it, I decided to go ahead and branch out and try another mac and cheese recipe.
The results were pretty good and have all kinds of hidden veggies. The best thing about this cheese sauce was the wonderful orange color that the butternut squash added to the sauce without any added color or turmeric. My oldest actually saw the finished sauce and commented, “Wow, this time it’s actually orange like Will likes”.
I found several recipes online for butternut squash macaroni that sounds absolutely wonderful – but I knew these wouldn’t work with my kids since they were the baked variety complete with a (to me) yummy crumbly topping. For my picky boys, I put together the following:
Butternut Squash Cheese Sauce
1 small butternut squash
3 cups 2% milk
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
Cut the butternut squash in half and remove seeds. Place the halves on a cookie sheet cut side up, drizzle with olive oil and roast for 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven (or until tender). In the meantime, shred or process your cheese in the food processor. Carefully scoop the roasted squash out of the skin and place into your food processor or blender and puree until it is silky smooth (the smoother you get your squash the better your kids won’t know it’s there). Heat the milk in a pan until warm but not boiling, then add the pureed squash, cheese and spices and cook over medium heat until the cheese is melted.
I used about a cup and a half of the sauce to a half box of whole wheat pasta and then freeze in 1 1/2 cup portions in zip lock bags. The next time you need macaroni and cheese, you take the sauce bag out of the freezer when you put the water on for your pasta and let it thaw slightly while you cook the noodles. Once the noodles are done and draining, add the sauce to the pan you cooked the noodles in, add a little milk and heat it up on medium heat until it is thawed and warm and then add your drained noodles. Add extra salt to taste if you prefer it to be saltier.