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Recipes: cheesy butternut squash cavatappi bake

Get the butternut squash out of the garden
Get the butternut squash out of the gardenfotosearch

According to the September 2013 issue of Better Homes and Garden, women are constantly looking for dinner recipes that are fresh, easy, delicious – and good for you. As you may already know, that combination is not always easy to find.

Easy to make, delicious to eat
Easy to make, delicious to eatbhg.com

However, this recipe for a cheesy butternut squash cavatappi bake does that because the versatile butternut squash adds creaminess and flavor to an easy macaroni dish, replacing some of the cheese. This provides a Vitamin A packed dish which has less fat than the traditional macaroni and cheese without sacrificing any of the taste. Give it a try!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups peeled & cubed butternut squash
  • 8 ounces dried cavatappi or other elbow macaroni
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 8 ounces cremini or button mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons, all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup, fat-free milk
  • 6 ounces fontina cheese, shredded (1 ½ cups)
  • 2 slices reduced-sodium bacon, cooked & crumbled (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Lightly coat a 2-quart rectangular baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine squash and 2 Tablespoons water; cover with vented plastic wrap.
  4. Microwave on high for 4 minutes; stir. Microwave 4 for minutes more or until squash is tender. Carefully remove plastic wrap. Mash squash; set aside.
  5. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain.
  6. In a medium saucepan, heat butter over medium high heat.
  7. Add mushrooms and green onions. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
  8. Sprinkle flour over mushroom mixture. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Add milk and ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat; stir in squash.
  9. Add squash. Gently fold to combine.
  10. Transfer half of the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with half the heated through and cheese.
  11. Add remaining pasta mixture and cheese.
  12. Top with bacon, if desired.
  13. Bake, uncovered, 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.
  14. Top with additional green onions.

Serves 6