Macaroni and Four Cheeses

I have seen several recipes for macaroni and cheese that called for some sort of squash, and since I am a huge fan of mac ‘n’ cheese but always looking for lighter versions of it, I decided to give this one a try. I concealed the fact that there was squash in it until after Ryan had already tasted it in an attempt to get a totally unbiased opinion. He said it was really good then suspiciously asked me, “Why?”.

Personally, I think the squash gives the macaroni a really nice texture, but it isn’t overly cheesy nor does the cheese really stand out. I’m also a big fan of the “crunchy” topping the bread crumbs provide; it definitely has that sinful, baked macaroni and cheese texture! Ryan thought the texture was a little off; I’m not sure if it was the ricotta or the squash but there was a bit of a grainy texture instead of a really smooth creaminess. There is no denying that 3 Points for a good-sized portion of macaroni and cheese is no small feat; I just wish it had been a little cheesier. I suppose that is asking too much :) Regardless, it was very good and I will definitely be making it again – 4 stars.

Macaroni and Four Cheeses

8 ounces whole wheat macaroni
12 ounces frozen winter squash
1 cup fat free milk
2 ounces reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded
1 ounce Italian cheese blend, shredded
¼ cup reduced fat ricotta cheese
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground mustard
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon bread crumbs
1 tablespoon parmesan cheese, grated
½ teaspoon olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until tender but firm, about 5 to 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, place the frozen squash and milk into a large saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally and breaking up the squash with a spoon until it is defrosted. Turn the heat up to medium and cook until the mixture is almost simmering, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the Cheddar, Italian cheeses, ricotta cheese, salt, mustard and cayenne pepper. Pour cheese mixture over the macaroni and stir to combine. Transfer the macaroni and cheese to the baking dish.

Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the macaroni and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, then broil for 3 minutes so the top is crisp and nicely browned.

Source: “Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger” on Food Network
8 servings | 3 POINTS


February 6, 2009. recipes.

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