I’ve been craving comfort food lately…namely Mac & Cheese. Maxie’s Southern Comfort in Milwaukee makes a killer White Cheddar Mac and Cheese that B and I indulged in during happy hour last Friday (On a side note – Maxie’s happy hour is amazing. Half price oysters, shrimp and fried green tomatoes PLUS complimentary corn bread. How’s that for a deal, y’all).
I first tried their Mac and Cheese last month during my friend and fellow blogger Sun’s birthday. I’m the worst order-er ever. I always have about five things on my mind and then just end up picking something random at the last minute. And in this case, I just copied Sun and I was so glad I did (cause I’ve been dreaming about that Mac ever since).
Still, my craving hasn’t been satisfied…until tonight.
I had a butternut squash sitting on my counter and after a post on a vegan version from Oh She Glows, I decided to make a mac and cheese in all its diary glory (this is Wisconsin after all). And as far as Mac’s go, this version is actually pretty healthy. There isn’t any half and half or whipping cream, there isn’t a ton of cheese and the butternut squash sneaks in a healthy dose of vegetables. In other words, this is one Mac and Cheese you can definitely feel good about indulging in.
Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese
Adapted from Martha Stewart
* 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
* 1 cup water
* 1 1/2 cups 1% milk
* Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
* 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper (my dad brought me back some personally from New Mexico, so I am sneaking this into everything)
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
* 1 pound elbow macaroni
* 1 1/2 cups reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, shredded
* 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, shredded and divided
* 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
* 1 tablespoon canola oil
* 1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
* 1/4 cup light cream cheese (the 1/3 less fat kind)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine squash, water and milk in a large saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Mash contents of saucepan; stir in nutmeg, chipotle, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles; cook for about 8 minutes. Drain, and transfer to a large bowl; stir in squash mixture, cheddar, ricotta, cream cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan.
3. Grease a 3 quart baking dish with cooking spray. Transfer noodle mixture to dish. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumb and remaining Parmesan. Sprinkle over noodles. Drizzle with canola oil.
4. Cover with foil, and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil, and continue baking until lightly browned and crisp on top, 30 to 40 minutes more. Serve immediately.
Question: What is your favorite comfort food?