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I am an avowed, lifetime hater of vegetables, and I will devour the whole pan of this if given a chance. This is the version of a recipe from Ellie Krieger that I made after reading some of the reviews on the Food Network site. This looks long and complex, but remember, you can cook and puree the squash (and even cook the pasta) on the weekend and refrigerate everything. I made this on a weeknight at 6:00 pm and dinner was on the table by 7:00 pm easy.
- 1 butternut squash
- 1 lb macaroni (I like the Smart Taste Rotini pasta)
- 1 (12 ounce) can fat-free evaporated milk
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon paprika
- 1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs (panko works well)
- 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, shredded
- 1 teaspoon melted cooled butter or 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Cut butternut squash in half from top to bottom; remove seeds. Bake cut side down on a shallow baking pan at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until soft. Allow squash to cool. Scoop cooked squash out of the rind and puree, using a blender or food processor. Set aside 2 1/2 cups of puree. The remainder may be frozen, if desired.
- Prepare pasta according to package directions; drain well and set aside.
- Combine the 2 1/2 cups of pureed squash with the evaporated milk in a large saucepan. Heat over medium heat until just simmering. Remove pan from heat and gradually stir in the next 6 ingredients. (Using an immersion blender is ideal for the smoothest sauce).
- Combine the pasta with the sauce and stir until the pasta is well coated. Transfer mixture into a 13 x 9 pan coated with cooking spray.
- Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, and butter; sprinkle onto surface of casserole. Sprinkle with paprika.
- Bake casserole at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.