the other squash

Pumpkin takes center stage tomorrow, but I would like to make a case for the butternut squash.  It has a sweet, nutty taste and can be used in classic recipes or stand alone as a delicious side.  I cheat and buy my cubed in the refrigerator cooler in the produce section.

Here are two of my favorites:

1.  Creamy, Light Macaroni and Cheese (from Cooking Light)
It is seriously delicious and a great lighter way to serve homemade mac n’ cheese. The kids will never know!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 [1-pound] squash)
  • 1 1/4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) grated pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) finely grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
  • 1 pound uncooked cavatappi (any short noodle works)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preparation

  • 1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  • 2. Combine squash, broth, milk, and garlic in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • 3. Place the hot squash mixture in a blender. Add salt, pepper, and Greek yogurt. Remove the center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Place blended squash mixture in a bowl; stir in Gruyère, pecorino Romano, and 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano. Stir until combined.
  • 4. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain well. Add pasta to squash mixture, and stir until combined. Spread mixture evenly into a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.
  • 5. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add panko, and cook for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Sprinkle evenly over the hot pasta mixture. Lightly coat topping with cooking spray.
  • 6. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with parsley, and serve immediately.

2.  Pureed Butternut Squash-with a kick (I made the name up!).  This is a super, simple but yummy side!  Sorry no picture.

  • 2 lbs cubed butternut squash
  • ¼ c water
  • ¼ c onion
  • ½ t. thyme
Heat on low to medium heat for 20 minutes.  Stirring frequently until squash is fairly mashed.
Add
  • 1 T. butter
  • ¼ tsp Tabasco (or more for taste)

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