Baked Butternut Squash Mac & Cheezy

Prep: 20 minutes Cook: about an hour

Serves:6

By Veronica Grace

Ingredients

  • 1 2/3 cups butternut squash, mashed (about 1/2 medium squash cooked)
  • 16 ounce package elbow macaroni or spirals (GF if desired)
  • 1/2 -3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tsp miso paste
  • 3 cups non-dairy milk
  • 2 tbsp flour or cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/4- 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2-1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Herbamare or salt
  • Topping:
  • 2/3 cup breadcrumbs (GF if desired)
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika

Directions

Peel and cube the butternut squash and boil in a large pot just until soft. Or cook in a pressure cooker at high pressure for 5-7 minutes. Drain well. (Tip, if your squash is hard to peel or cut, pop it in the microwave for 3-4 minutes to soften the skin to make it easier to cut.) Measure out 1 2/3 cup of mashed squash and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large pot, bring water to a rolling boil. Add pasta and cook until just before tender. Generally it's about 5 minutes. Drain well in a colander and rinse in cold water. Do not overcook the pasta!

In a large saucepan heat vegetable broth over medium heat and add the onions and garlic. Cook for 5-6 minutes until tender, adding broth when needed to prevent burning.

Add cooked onions and any remaining broth from pan into Vitamix or food processor, add mashed squash and miso and blend until combined. Set aside.

In the same large saucepan add 1 cup of the non-dairy milk and sprinkle 1 tbsp of the flour (or cornstarch) when hot and whisk in. Add the remaining 2 cups of non-dairy milk and sprinkle in another tbsp of flour (or cornstarch). Whisk together fast. (It's ok if there are a few small bits remaining.)

Cook for a minute or two until hot and quickly add the squash mixture and whisk in. Heat through another minute or two and then add the nutritional yeast and whisk in. Turn off heat and add remaining seasonings starting with the lower amounts. Taste test and add additional seasonings to your liking.

Add drained pasta to sauce pot and stir to coat. Spread out in a casserole dish. Sprinkle breadcrumbs evenly over top. Sprinkle basil, oregano and paprika over the breadcrumbs.

Bake for 20-30 minutes just until pasta is tender. (20 minutes if you overcooked your pasta, 30 minutes if you didn't.)

Additional Tips:
You can use frozen cubed butternut squash and cook it and mash it, or use canned butternut squash. Both are sold at natural food stores.

Smoked paprika has a much better flavor than regular paprika. McCormick makes one, or you can get it at a specialty market or Whole Foods.