1/4 cup (1 ounce) finely grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
1 pound uncooked cavatappi
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 375°.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with parsley, and serve immediately.
This is a fantastic recipe! It was gooey and creamy just like comfort food. My husband who is picky about mac and cheese, even liked it. My squash was almost 2 lb's and I used it all, which made the cheese flavor a little less noticeable but it still tasted like and had the texture of cheese. I also increased the yogurt to 4 oz and used vegetable stock to make it vegetarian. I like the idea of adding a bit of mustard and next time I'll try a smoked cheddar. It kept well as leftovers for lunch the next day too.
I improvised a bit on this using some ingredients from another one of Cooking Lights mac n' cheese recipes. I'm not fond of Greek yogurt so I used cream cheese in its place (this comes from the other recipe). I also didn't use the cheeses listed because I had others on hand. I used sharp cheddar, pecorino romano and parmesan/romano. I didn't measure any of the cheeses, just added until I felt it tasted right. I also added 2-3 tbsp. of Dijon mustard to counteract some of the sweetness of the squash. The hubby loved it and so did I.
I can see this being a good option for getting kids vegetables in their mac and cheese, but this still doesn't fit the bill as a replacement mac and cheese dish. I used 1/4 cup more milk per other reviewers' suggestions, and used sharp cheddar in place of the gruyere. I cooked it for 20 minutes, with the broiler on for the last 3 or so to crisp up the top. It was fine, but not amazing. The texture was a little bit funky/grainy because of the squash. I think I'll still keep looking for a keeper low fat mac and cheese recipe.