This white cheddar mac n’ cheese is made healthier with the addition of creamy squash and toasted walnuts. Perfect fall pasta dish!
- 1 large kabocha squash (butternut would be good too!)
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts + extra for topping
- 1 lb. whole wheat rotini (or elbow macaroni for more traditional mac n’ cheese)
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1–2 tablespoons butter
- 3 ounces light cream cheese
- 1–2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
- 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 – I don’t have much to work with here in the Philippines). 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 350 degrees until fork-tender, about an 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 – 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.
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.
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Category: Dinner
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: white cheddar mac and cheese, mac and cheese recipe, mac and cheese with squash and walnuts