When I’m not in a sweets and chocolate mood and want something savory it is often CHEESE that I am craving! Yep those are my two weaknesses! Melting cheese on almost anything makes me very happy. I love grilled cheese, mexican dishes with, yes, cheese, cheese dips, cheese plates (yes please!), and my fav mac and cheese. Yes I am cheese obsessed!
Cricket loves cheese as well, her favorite is provolone. Mine, is well, too many to comment! I appreciate them all for their unique qualities and tastes 🙂
When I say I like mac and cheese I do not mean the kind that comes in a box, all watered down and runny! If I’m going indulge, I want my mac and cheese extra cheesy with stringy, gooey cheese- the real deal. This recipe is designed specifically to have that thick cheesy sauce, but I was able to lighten it up considerably by diluting the cheese sauce with pureed butternut squash and spices. I also decided to use gluten-free pasta (brown-rice based), and you would never know it wasn’t the real thing. If you’re looking to fulfill a desire for cheesy goodness over pasta you must give this a try!
A lighter and healthier creamy Mac and Cheese
- 3 cups pasta (I used gluten free)
- 2 cups butternut squash (cubed)
- ¼ cup almond milk (regular milk is fine as well)
- 1 tablespoon butter (or oil of choice)
- ½ cup onions (chopped)
- 2 garlic cloves (chopped)
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- 4 tablespoons of nutritional yeast (optional if using shredded cheese)
- optional: ½ cup of shredded gruyere-cheddar blend cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Boil pasta until al-dente texture is reached, drain. (drizzle some olive oil to keep pasta from clumping)
- Boil cubed butternut squash until fork tender, drain and set aside.
- Saute the butter, along with the onions and garlic, spices and salt and pepper in a pan until they are translucent and beginning to brown.
- In a high speed blender combine the butternut squash, onion/garlic/spice mixture, almond milk, and nutritional yeast.
- Blend on high until a smooth, thick consistency is reached.
- In a bowl pour the sauce over the pasta, coat evenly, mix in shredded cheese, and put into a casserole dish or pan (I used a cast iron skillet)
- Bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees F or warm on the stovetop (medium-low) until hot and bubbly.