Creamy, Light Macaroni and Cheese

  • CookingDad27 Posted: 08/23/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Made this tonight. Made it as directed, which does have many steps, however, it was WAY healthier than other mac and cheese. The consistency matches good mac and cheese but the flavor is less cheesy flavor. However, for my 2 year old, she didn't realize it was any different. she ate it up because it looked just like mac and cheese. Definitely would make again!

  • Lydia1925 Posted: 09/04/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    The problem with this recipe is that there just isn't enough fat to make it a satisfying Mac and Cheese. That is not to say you need to go all Paula Deen on it! I added 3 tblsps half and half and 1 tblsp butter to the butternut squash mixture. This changed the calories from 390 to about 550 per serving. Still much less than the 930 for a full fat mac and cheese, and the flavor was wonderful and satisfying! Will definitely make again.

  • allisonjessee Posted: 08/24/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    We thought this was good! It'd be pretty easy if you had pre-cut butternut and pre-shredded cheese (for at least some of the cheese). The flavor was great!

  • lhelton1230 Posted: 08/28/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    This was very very good! I made it for our church picnic and it was gone almost before I could get any. I was shocked at how a sauce with no cheese tasted so much like cheese sauce before I added all the cheeses! It was very good, I gave it 4 stars because I like my mac and cheese a little saucier and this was not very saucy, but it was still delicious and although there are a lot of steps it is well worth the effort!

  • Susan1947 Posted: 09/08/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I agree with trajax!!!! My daughter-in-law and I made this together and each served it at our own homes. Both her family and we agree (6 people) that this not rich and creamy!!! It was very bland tasting, expensive to make, and very dry! While we all appreciated having a healthy sauce, it definitly needed some fat to make it richer, and something to make it creamy. I will stick with my nacho and 4 cheese Mac and cheese recipes from BA with my nonfat subs. They are MUCH better!!!

  • Txajax Posted: 09/02/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I was very disappointed with this recipe. It was very expensive to make and came out extremely dry. What a waste of money.

  • Dontdietliveit Posted: 08/26/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Love Cooking Light recipes, don't love this one! I found this to be really dry and not very tasty. For the amount of dishes dirtied, money spent on expensive cheeses (around $20), and effort that went into grating and chopping, this was not worth the effort. I think next time I will make real macaroni and cheese and eat a smaller serving.

  • Topspin23 Posted: 08/27/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    We thought this was very good! You would not even know there was butternut squash in it. A little involved to make, but well worth the effort. Great comfort food for the fall.

  • amanda1986 Posted: 08/29/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    This recipe was very good. However, it did take a very long time to put together and I had a ton of dishes to wash when it was all done. Next time I will make a double batch and freeze some. I added a little bit of nutmeg and it made it taste a little more fallish... would be great with a crisp salad with apples and walnuts in it and some crusty bread.

  • NicoleCooks Posted: 08/28/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Made this tonight and I absolutely loved it. Prepared it exactly as directed, although I don't have a blender so the process took a little longer. I also made a regular mac and cheese, just in case this recipe didn't come out so good - I don't like butternut squash on its own, and everyone preferred the cooking light recipe. It took me a while to prepare, two hours from start to finish, but I think it would be shorter a second time around now that I know the recipe better. Definitely worth the time

  • EllenDeller Posted: 10/03/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Made for a potluck and everyone loved it, but I made these important changes: cook only 12 oz. pasta & drain. Use same pot to simmer pre-cut and peeled squash (found it in Walmart's produce dept.) in stock, garlic, bay leaf and 1 2/3 cups milk with cover on the pot, and let cool. Remove bay leaf and blend. Then use same pot to mix up with a 2 cup bag of store-brand Italian cheese. Mix in dried Italian seasoning and lemon-pepper, dash of ground red pepper, then turn into baking pan and top with panko and store-brand parmesan. Then MOST IMPORTANT--cover and bake. It was not dry at all because I increased milk and decreased pasta, simmered squash with cover on, and baked with cover on. Delicious!

  • Kheath Posted: 09/08/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    This is so yummy!! I have been looking for a rich creamy mac and cheese, and this one hits the mark. I love the "grown up" cheese flavor, and the kids just think it is delicious!! I love that it has the butternut squash in it!!!

  • amoudakas Posted: 09/08/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I was skeptical but thought the reduction in calories was definitely a worthwhile reason to at least give this a shot. The only real modification I made was using Swiss instead of Gruyere simply because I have found that in recipes like this, swiss works just fine as a cheaper alternative to gruyere. Additionally, I did add slightly more milk than it called for, but no more than maybe 1/2 cup. As far as personal touches, I did add some peas and crabmeat to the dish to make it more of a main course rather than a side dish. The flavor of the sauce was truly outstanding and while it isn't overwhelmingly cheesy, I love the nuttiness of the squash and swiss cheese. Super good and it sure doesn't taste like it is missing any of those calories. We will most certainly be making the dish again. Oh and I did omit the parsley because I just don't care for it on anything.

  • trillian Posted: 09/27/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Seriously amazing. And you don't feel guilty eating mac n cheese for dinner because there is an entire butternut squash hidden in there. Don't complicate it! I used 10 ounces of misc cheeses, threw it right in with the squash after cooking and blended with an immersion blender, topped with uncooked panko, and broiled for a couple minutes to crisp it up. Perfection. It only took about a half hour.

  • misulli Posted: 08/26/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    My husband seriously had a take-out menu at the ready when I started making this. He was sure it would be awful. He took one bite and admitted how wrong he was. It was outstanding! I NEVER would have taken this recipe to be lower in fat and calories. Flavor was amazing and consistency was even better.

  • jonyc28 Posted: 09/10/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    This is a great recipe, but I agree with some of the other reviews - it is expensive to buy all the cheeses and it does get very dry. However, I've learned that many Cooking Light pasta recipes dry out while baking, so I've learned to add more milk and Greek yogurt to counteract that. Also, the time to prepare is always longer than the recipe says, in this case, due to the butternut squash which is really hard to peel and cut.

  • ArleneLynn Posted: 09/10/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I tasted this before I put it in the oven and it was incredible. I should have stopped there. When it was done baking, it was dry and there was no sauce left. I will try this again without baking it. The flavors were great other than the dryness.

  • PotterRach Posted: 09/03/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    My family was less than impressed to say the least. My picky eater refused to eat it flat out and even my trash compactor-child didn't want anything to do with it after a couple bites. My guy on the other hand ate it and he doesn't dig mac n cheese. But that might have just been either his good manners, or the bacon and rotisserie chicken garnish I added. Either way, won't be venturing this road again.

  • xani79 Posted: 09/19/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    This was a big hit at my house. I used whole milk b/c it was all I had, and used 9 oz of trader joe's cheddar-gruyere blend in place of the gruyere and romano cheeses. Added a bay leaf and some nutmeg to the sauce. I was really worried during the final assembly b/c it seemed so WET-- i thought the whole thing would still be soupy after baking, but it firmed up nicely. 9 year old had NO idea it contained squash, and even asked to take leftovers to school today!

  • LKGmom Posted: 09/02/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    A total hit. Yes it was a little involved but worth it to make a mac and cheese that is a bit healthier. made the night before and heated up for dinner in the microwave and it was excellent!

  • Carrsm Posted: 08/27/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Lovely Mac and Cheese! Although my 4 and 9 year old weren't impressed, the cheeses may be a bit strong for some kids. As adults, both, my husband and I were impressed!

  • etonmymind Posted: 10/02/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I am really amazed at the number of negative reviews on this! Such a delicious, light alternative to traditional, southern-style homemade mac n cheese. It was a bit labor intensive but not bad considering we got two meals out of it (two adults and three children). The taste is subtle and mature, like grown up kid food. You would never guess there was so much squash in there! We used whole wheat penne instead of cavatappi, and a fresh 3 cheese blend (Parmesan, Romano, Asiago) in lieu of the Parmigiano-Reggiano. I also shortened the baking time to 15 minutes and found it quite adequate (watch for the bubbling, just as the recipe said, and you won't over bake it). Make sure you brown the panko well for an extra little taste infusion. My kids scarfed this up, and we'll be adding it to our rotation. No, it doesn't taste like the boxed stuff--it's better!

  • phuber Posted: 08/31/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Super easy-if you boil the pasta first (you only need to cook it about half the time the package says since they will keep cooking in the oven), then cook the squash in the same pot and use an immersion blender, you've got hardly any dishes. Substituted a minced shallot for the garlic, and used a mix of romano and fontina cheese and a little less pasta than it called for to keep it saucier. I also nixed the topping and mixed in some steamed broccoli at the end. Yum!

  • BrendaS78 Posted: 09/11/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I had some leftover squash from a different recipe and decided it was a good excuse to try this recipe. I had a bit of a head start on it, since my squash was already, well, squashed. I still added the milk, broth, etc. I did cook the noodles ahead of time as directed. I did cut corners money wise by choosing other cheeses. I chose swiss, asiago, and mozzarella. I cooked everything in my dutch oven and then used my immersion blender to create the sauce consistency. Because people were indicating the final product was dry, I decided to add the cooked noodles to my dutch oven and add the cooked panko on top. It's been my experience in the past that if mac and cheese is baked in a dish that is too shallow it can dry out quicker. Not sure if there is any real science to it, however I baked it in the oven as directed and it came out gooey. So, the method seems to have been successful.

  • FitGrandma Posted: 08/30/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Fantastic. I used an immersion blender. Fewer dishes to wash. I also used Dreamfield pasta which is very low in carbs. It made a big hit at my house.

  • dcdori Posted: 09/07/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I followed the recipe exactly, and got mac and cheese with very little sauce, and too much pasta. The sauce was tasty by itself, but once baked, the dish was dry and neither cheesy or gooey. The pasta was also overcooked. Next time I'd undercook it in the boiling water some before baking, and cut the amount of pasta way down for that amount of sauce. Disappointing, and not worth even the reduced calorie count.

  • KathrynNC Posted: 08/28/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    This recipes has some potential. For a very "cheddar" color, but without the cheddar cheese flavor, it was somewhat odd. If I try this again, I will substitute sharp cheddar for the gruyere and add a bit more cheese. Though I may just take the suggestion of a previous reviewer and make my usual recipe but commit myself to only a small portion size.

  • Juwell Posted: 09/09/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    love, love love this recipe! really good and totally satisfies a mac-n-cheese craving! i would add a little extra garlic and next time i may experiment with some light cheddar or smoked cheeses - but, it's excellent as is!

  • katie1124 Posted: 09/26/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    my boyfriend and i really liked this recipe- you can't taste the sqaush at all, just a nice mellow nutty flavor. i might add a bit more milk in the beginning stages, since after the pasta went in the oven it came out a bit drier than i would have liked. otherwise though, will definitely make again!

  • K92inVA Posted: 09/06/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    This was fabulous - everyone enjoyed it! Very creamy - not dry, but we only used about 3/4 lb. of pasta. Will definitely make it again!

  • kleblanc9 Posted: 08/30/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Delicious! I added 1.5 cups of frozen peas when mixing the cooked pasta with the cheese mixture.

  • kate5644 Posted: 09/19/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I always love my cooking light recipes. But yikes, this was pretty terrible. And it was very expensive to make. My partner and I HATE to waste food. We try hard to eat everything we bring into our home. We got through one serving each, and tried to force feed ourselves another serving the next day, but just couldn't even get through one bite. I threw away the rest. It was really that bad. I would skip this one and move onto another cooking light recipe.

  • whitsera Posted: 08/31/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I loved this! I too was surprised at how the sauce tasted so buttery and cheesy even before I put the cheese in. It did take a while to prepare but I finished it in an hour. I did a few steps simultaneously and that sped up the time. Mine was saucy enough. I will make it again!

  • alto63 Posted: 09/10/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    This does not taste like a light recipe-it was creamy and delicious. The combination of cheeses is very flavorful-we loved it and I will definitely be using this recipe the next time we are craving mac and cheese!

  • snoopy66 Posted: 09/14/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    The butternut squash mixture smelled really good when cooking, but after adding the cheeses it became grainy and gooey. I used pre-shredded gruyere and I think that was a mistake- it was already drier than freshly shredded. Also the romano and parm are not the best melting cheeses, making it grainier than I would have liked. Once baked it was dry too. It was okay, but needs some work. Definitely more milk for creaminess and garlic and pepper for flavor. This isn't traditional mac and cheese and picky eaters may not like the nutty flavors of the squash and gruyere.

  • jmdean78 Posted: 09/22/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I agree with some of the other comments. Takes way longer than the time on the recipe, dirties a lot of dishes, expensive and EXTREMELY DRY. I tasted the sauce before going into the oven and it was really good and creamy. In fact, I was worried that it would be watery! I should have left it like that, though. After taking it out of the oven, there was no sauce and it was so dry. It didn't even really taste cheesy anymore. I was really bummed.

  • jlikestorun Posted: 10/03/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    This is a wonderful - healthy recipe. My kids and husband, all of whom "hate" squash - love it. It's important to use the cheeses listed (although, in a pinch you can substitute asiago for reggiano) for the best flavor. I do not put the crumbs on top and we don't miss them at all - I also use quinoa pasta, which adds protein and does not contain gluten. If you have some left, use it to make a second meal by adding diced ham and broccoli - another big hit!

  • wanderingviolet Posted: 09/25/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I thought it was delicious! I subbed some sharp cheddar cheese for some of the gruyere since I had some on hand (and love sharp cheddar!). Like another reviewer I used an immersion blender and cooked everything in my dutch oven to reduce the number of dishes my husband will have to do later :)

  • mottsapplesauce Posted: 10/02/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    The night of making this dish, it was pretty delicious (we served it as a side with salmon patties). However, leftovers were not creamy at all, bread crumbs were soft, and the dish was a bit bland. It had a stiff mashed potatoes-quality to it. If you are making this for two people, cut the recipe in half. My husband ate leftovers for 2 days and we still threw half of it out. If you really want to try it, add lots more milk and go by the suggestions of the rest of these folks making comments!

  • jwmassey Posted: 10/16/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    This recipe was great!! I love Butternut Squash and Gruyere Cheese. It was very creamy and knowing how much fat and calories were eliminated made it even better. My husband liked it also. The only change I made was to add the whole small Greek Yogurt to it so it wouldn't be wasted.

  • PamKay Posted: 09/07/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    We used a pumpkin from our garden instead of the butternut squash - it's all winter squash anyway. Everyone enjoyed it immensely! With 1 lb of frozen pumpkin (I bake it and freeze in portioned containers) we'll have a head start on the preparation and make this all winter. I also used 10 oz. total of assorted cheeses from the fridge - asiago, monteray jack, some irish cheese - very flavorful.

  • Huntingtonmom44 Posted: 08/28/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    It was a bit time consuming and I was terrified my daughter was going to "taste" the butternut and not eat it. She loved it, and even asked if she could have it for breakfast. Butternut squash is a pain to prepare but well worth it in the end. I just have to get better at it because the family has already requested that I make it again.

  • martyj Posted: 08/29/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I have to say I was disappointed with this one. I followed the recipe to the tee and found it came out on the dry side, not at all creamy like the recipe says. It took a long time and there were tons of dishes to wash. I liked the butternut squash in it though. Next time I make a mac and cheese I will stick with the real thing.

  • CarlyCo Posted: 08/28/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    This is outstanding! Loved it! Even my son, who is super picky about his mac n' cheese (i.e. prefers it out of a box) said, "We should have this every day!" I did not use the cheese listed in the recipe, instead I used a 2 cup bag of Sargento mixed artesianal cheeses and about a quarter cup of mixed chedder/jack (from a bag). I do keep parmesano reggiano on hand, so that was included of course, but it worked out fantastic. At first I was worried there was too much liquid, the sauce wasn't as thick as it looked in the picture (when mixing the squash puree and cheeses) but after adding in the pasta and baking, it set up perfectly!

  • Monica3 Posted: 09/04/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    We really enjoyed this recipe. It was a tasty and healthier twist on the mac and cheese. Nevertheless, you will be disappointed if you are expecting this to taste just like mac and cheese. I also think that my cost-benefit analysis was shaped in great part by using (1) peeled and cubed butternut squash (available at Whole Foods); (2) grated Romano and Parmesan cheeses; and (3) an immersion blender. This recipe would have been quite a chore without these shortcuts: still tasty, but a lot harder to make.

  • BitseyBarker Posted: 09/22/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    We made the recipe almost exactly as written and it was amazing! The only thing we did different was use an immersion blender instead of a traditional one (which I think reduces the graininess some people mention) and I may have been slightly heavy handed with the milk (as in I think I added 1 2/3 cups instead of 1 1/2). I thought it was too wet going into the oven but it came out just fine. We had no problem with dryness and the flavor was delicious! I don't share many of the other complaints I see here. We were able to find packages of cheese close to the amount we needed and only spent $10-12. Also, I didn't find that I dirtied more dishes than I usually do when cooking dinner. If you'd call it a hassle to make (which we don't) then we believe it is well worth it. This recipe is a definite keeper in my home!

  • elishapisha Posted: 10/05/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I've made this twice now and it's SO delicious. Sure, it takes a bit of work, but I just managed to do it on a weeknight, so it can't be too bad, right? I would suggest slightly undercooking the pasta (I let it boil for 6 min instead of 8 min) so it soaks up some of the sauce into the pasta to finish cooking and doesn't get overly soggy. Even my fiance, who doesn't like squash, is a fan. It freezes and reheats in individual containers really well, which is a huge plus in our busy house.

  • abbyandchris Posted: 10/03/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Great texture! My squash came out to be about a cup more than it called for, but i added it anyway. Because of that I think the cheese to squash ratio was a bit off - but I still loved it. Will def make again.

  • rauksu Posted: 09/25/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    This was really yummy. I could not stop eating it before it even came out of the oven! Changes: No yogurt - I subbed ricotta instead. Used bagged grated swiss & GOOD parmesean instead of the other expensive cheeses. I had to add more milk. Next time I will use a whole butternut squash and add more milk as it was VERY dry. I might even just try it with a 2% cheese blend. I think that "hiding" the squash was a great idea for the kids (and husband!). I will be making this again, although is is definitely not a weeknight meal as regular mac & cheese can be. Served with a london broil and roasted brussel sprouts.

  • darklykawaii Posted: 09/28/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    We -loved- this. I have never seen my daughters gobble up a Cooking Light recipe so fast (minus the desserts ;))! I did make a few substitutions to suit us: used whole wheat penne, used good Romano and Parmesan for cheaper alternatives to their expensive counterparts, used 1% milk instead of fat free, left out the oil at the end on both the panko and last step, and substituted multigrain cracker crumbs for the panko as I was out. Dee-lish. I would say the serving size could be halved easily if this is for a side dish; I ate the serving as my dinner and was full. As many people have complained, this isn't a wet dish. The sauce firms and adheres to the pasta but the texture is definitely not unpleasant. Add more of the milk and broth if you need a liquid sauce.

  • scientist Posted: 10/02/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Total disappointment. I've made much better low fat mac and cheese recipes, and much better Cooking Light Recipes. Not only was it not creamy or particularly cheesy, but it was oddly dry. It says to "serve immediately" and that's probably because it started to get a congealed texture to it while I was eating it. Also, it had a nutty, kind of sweet flavor to it, which is not necessarily bad, but is not what I'm looking for in Mac and cheese... Lots of money and effort - I guess I'll eat it, depending on the texture of the leftovers, but I would NEVER make it again...

  • ElyssiaM Posted: 09/13/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    This was amazing! We are NOT butternut squash fans in this house, you couldn't tell at all. I did use whole, raw milk instead of the lighter version (that's what we had in the house). It was creamy & delicious, even reheated the next day. Loved it. This is the recipe I'll use from now on to make Mac & Cheese!

  • NEglmm Posted: 09/25/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Very good, added a little extra milk. Both my wife and my son, who hates anything with vegetables in it, declared it a definite do again.

  • LaurenVan Posted: 09/29/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Fantastic! Easy and delicious. You wouldn't even know there was squash in there. I served it with an easy zucchini, yellow squash, onion, pepper and tomato saute! Also, I used slightly more squash, my immersion blender and mixed the sauce with the noodles in the pot I cooked the noodles in, this helped with moisture and cut down on the dishes.

  • abcfoodie Posted: 10/04/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Love this recipe! Try it even if you don't like butternut squash! I used frozen butternut squash and halved the pecorino romano. I put the cheese into the blender along with the pureed squash. I also didn't brown the bread crumbs-just spritzed with olive oil and a little extra parmesan(once I drizzled it with a little butter) My husband loved it and my youngest daughter, who usually doesn't care for mac and cheese, asked if I could make pasta this way all the time!

  • ellie31773 Posted: 10/18/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    This dish is spectacular. It went together really easily, and both my husband and I are looking forward to eating the leftovers throughout the week. We threw in a bit of diced sweet pepper and a minced chili from our garden, and the flavors were very complementary.

  • Mia123456 Posted: 10/28/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Very good! Modifications I made: I used whole wheat shell pasta and whole wheat panko bread crumbs. I also used veggie broth instead of chicken broth since I'm a vegetarian. I had a lot of squash so I made some extra, leaving off the bread crumbs and put an uncooked one in the freezer, will add bread crumbs when I'm ready to defrost and cook that one. My toddler also liked this.

  • ChefAmandaLynn Posted: 09/19/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Rich and creamy, I LOVED this. My main modification was to sub Swiss for Guyere as it is not only less expensive but also creamier. I blended my pecarino romano and swiss very fine in the VitaMix so it melted very well. I also skipped the panko topping.

  • thenerd Posted: 09/28/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Absolutely delicious! I was almost disappointed that I couldn't taste the squash but the flavor is wonderful. This will be part of our regular dinner rotation.

  • Allie79 Posted: 09/28/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    A hit at our house! I used penne as suggested by the recipe, whole-wheat no less. Everyone loved it. I agree with other reviewers that (even though we did use the cheeses as directed in the recipe) you could alter this to your liking and budget by using your choice of cheese. I tasted it before putting it into the baking dish and only needed to add just a bit more salt.

  • willisonjk Posted: 10/02/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Great alternative to mac and cheese - based on reviews, I made the following changes: added more milk (maybe 3/4 cup) and 2 tblsp of reduced fat cream cheese. With these changes, we cooked it for the full 25 min and it didn't dry out at all.

  • SClipp2 Posted: 10/29/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this. I have honestly NEVER used squash in anything before and I was so pleased with how this came out! I am the world's biggest fan of mac and cheese and cannot believe how tasty this version was. I will say that 20 minutes was plenty of time and didn't dry anything out. My husband added some hot sauce to his serving and said it was perfect.

  • JNovey Posted: 10/31/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    The best homemade mac & cheese recipe that I have ever made. It was easy to make and the flavor exceeded my expectations. I wasn't sure what to expect with the butternut squash but it actually gave it a great flavor and the taste was excellent. I highly recommend this recipe and one that I will make for my family again.

  • schwarzep Posted: 10/28/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I was so surprised how good this was. Not as good as the real deal (and I didn't expect it to be - that's not the point of this recipe. I don't know what some of these other reviewers are thinking), but it will definitely now be in the weeknight rotation. Only thing I changed was I used reduced fat Italian shredded cheese mix and parmesan to make it more kid friendly.

  • Spunkydancer Posted: 12/12/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    One word: DELICIOUS! I made this and total faked out my veggie-averse husband and father in law! Score 1 for me. In fact, they commented how delicious the house smelled as I was simmering the squash :) Sneaky sneaky me. This recipe is a keeper and I pretty much stuck to it except maybe being a little more heavy handed with the cheese.

  • HotAppleC Posted: 10/20/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    LOVED this recipe. I made a few small modifications: I did not add salt (since the cheese is already so salty anyways), I added a little extra garlic, and I added 1/4 tsp of nutmeg. I think the nutmeg really made it. My whole family loved it- I will definitely be making this again!

  • lfirebrand Posted: 10/31/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Really delicious! I halved the recipe and used sharp cheddar, Parmesan and Feta instead of Gruyere and Romano cheese. I also added some Sriracha to taste to the squash mixture and baked for 20 minutes instead of 25. Not quite as cheesy as regular mac and cheese, but delicious just the same. I served this with a simple green salad dressed in a mustard vinaigrette.

  • erikachicago Posted: 11/10/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I liked this recipe but none of the four children I served it to did. Next time I think I would substitute cheddar or american cheese for the gruyere to have a more child-friendly flavor.

  • josicasas Posted: 12/08/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Absolutely loved it!!!! Never had mac and cheese like this. I'd never had butternut squash but the taste was amazing. Everyone loved it so will definitely make again.

  • StephanieReid Posted: 11/20/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    WONDERFUL!

  • jb1963 Posted: 01/08/12
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    This is delicious! I used 2 boxes of frozen butternut squash puree to save time. It came out wonderfully. I added a little nutmeg for flavor to compensate for the frozen squash. Yum Yum.

  • starfroggie Posted: 11/12/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    The squash and broth smelled amazing when simmering, the end product was very good!

  • ThereseMA Posted: 11/03/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    My boyfriend and I loved this version of mac and cheese. Preparation was pretty easy, only because I used two packages of frozen pureed butternut squash. I put the broth, milk, and garlic in a pan and put the two chunks of frozen squash in there and let it defrost and combine. This, added to the fact that I omitted the panko altogether, definitely cut down on prep effort and time. Once I added the cheese to the mixture, I was really afraid the sauce would be too watery in the oven. (We used cheeses we had on hand -- cheddar, swiss, etc.) It thickened up considerably, though, and the end result was delicious. This is a winner in the category of everyday comfort food.

  • Avidcook43 Posted: 12/31/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    This is a great recipe. I made it for my husband and he suggested I make it as part of our Christmas Eve dinner but not to tell anyone that it is a light recipe with the butternut squash. I served it with a baked ham to rave reviews. Then I told everyone the reduced calories and ingredients. My great nephew, who is 13 years old, asked his mother to get the recipe from me. I'd call that a Cooking Light success. I do suggest using a food scale instead of just measuring the cheese and squash. I think it keeps the recipe accurate. I had enough of the ingredients to make another recipe for New Year's. By the way I prepared the recipe the night before and did not bake it until I wanted to serve it on the holiday. I even adjusted the baking time so I could bake it with ham at 325 degrees. I had it in the oven for about an hour and it came out fine.

  • marieb24 Posted: 12/14/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    This was wonderful! I didn't find it dry at all like some other reviewers. I cooked the squash in my large stock pot so was able to use an immersion blender to blend--then just threw in the cheeses and pasta--no need to mix in a separate bowl. Next time I would undercook the pasta a bit. I might also add in a few more things like a dash of dried mustard and up the garlic in the sauce. My 11 year old daughter ate a huge serving and I felt like I was cheating on WW! It comes out looking very orange, but my daughter who won't eat orange cheese was ok with it because she knew it had squash in it!

  • Barbawana Posted: 11/04/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I was a little weary about making this, it just didn't sound good to me. My mother told me she had made and liked it, so I thought i would give it a shot. I was out of panko, so used regular breadcrumbs and followed the rest of the recipe. I thought it was quite good. Mine was not dry at all and had great flavor. Would definately make again. And definately worth making.

  • lsardes2 Posted: 10/31/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    OBSESSED with this butternut squash mac n cheese! Doubled the garlic and had about 4C of cubed squash, cooked it 28 mins; otherwise followed the recipe to a T. Next time I make it (and there will be a next time) I might try some sharp cheddar for more tang. SOOOO GOOOD!

  • nburton19 Posted: 12/27/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I've now made this several times. It has NEVER been dry! I've used both previously peeled and cut squash as well as fresh, and it has come out fine either way. I will say that using frozen squash can produce a more bland dish.....there's something about the fresh stuff! The first time I made it I used an ounce of ementhaler (since I couldn't find enough Gruyere) and it was really delicious--better than when I used just Gruyere. Using the cheeses specified in the recipe produces a very rich flavor.....I found already grated Parm-Reggiano and Romano-Pecorino at my local grocery store and they worked fine, although the Parm/Reggiano cheese is a little pricey. The Panko/parmesan topping gives the dish a quick burst of cheese flavor with every bite. My husband loved this, especially when I added lobster meat to it as a special treat for my Maine-born spouse. I even tripled the recipe and made it for men at a homeless shelter.....more nutritious than high-fat mac and cheese.

  • KTenCate Posted: 01/11/12
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I made this as a cooking demonstration at my church's fall festival. The adults and the kids loved it. I was surprised how savory it was and so much healthier than regular mac-n-cheese. I also served it to company with pork chops but it could easily be your main dish. The recipe goes together quickly once you get the squash chopped and heated with the milk. You can boil the pasta while you are heating the squash. Freeze before the last step (baking) and it also turns out great.

  • Dyanna33 Posted: 11/22/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    My ultra-picky 13 year old daughter (who didn't want to know what the ingredients were while I was cooking) absolutely loved this dish. I had never cut fresh butternut squash before but have since learned some tricks to make that a little easier (i.e. either precooking it a little before trying to cut it or buying it already cut!). I'm making it again tonight per my daughters request. Yummy and healthy!

  • Pdigiacomofan52 Posted: 01/22/12
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    This was really delicious and easy to make. However, I noted that it was not too creamy inside. I took it out of the oven, covered it with foil and allowed it to sit for 15 minutes before the other entrees were ready to be served. I think the next time I make it, I will add the entire 20z package of butternut squash and use 1 and 3/4 cup of milk, and maybe a little extra low fat cheese. But otherwise, I can't wait to finish serve the leftovers a couple more times this week.

  • BrendaLRGale Posted: 02/16/12
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    This was the most amazing mac & cheese EVER!!! Hubby pigged out, making yummy sounds the entire time. Haha! I used penne rigate instead of he cavatappi. Can't wait for leftovers tonight! Ten pts of warm coziness!

  • SabrinaTew Posted: 01/19/12
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I made this for Thanksgiving this past year and everyone loved it. I didn't want to use the more expensive cheeses on a mac & cheese recipe so I substituted low fat cream cheese for the Gruyere and then added grated Parmesan instead of the other two cheeses. Everyone loved it and even normally picky kids said they liked it better than regular mac and cheese. I will definitely make this again!

  • ElissaPit Posted: 02/25/12
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    This is the best lightened mac-and cheese recipe I have found, by far. It is a dead ringer for the original. I did not use the same cheeses though - I used sharp cheddar for the Gruyere and parmesan for the Romano, plus a little light cream cheese, and I only used 14 oz of cavatappi. It was very creamy. Also, my husband detests butternut squash, but he happily ate this.

  • Bertazzoni Posted: 02/23/12
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I love this dish! The last time I made it, I put everything together and froze half of it (it freezes very well). The frozen dish came out much creamier because I did not bake it, just heated it up in the microwave. In the future, I will skip the last part.....

  • gotbidnezz Posted: 02/24/12
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    We thought this was great. Easy way to trick boys into eating vegetables, and no problems with grainy-ness, evenness, or reheating.

  • KHallAllison Posted: 10/14/12
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I just made this and it was a hit! I substituted a cup of canned pumpkin puree for the squash to make it easier. I also increased the garlic and sauteed it in a little olive oil before adding the rest of the ingredients for step 1 to the same pan. I then skipped the blending in step 2, and continued as written, using the same pan. Much less work and less to clean! To make it a meal, I added in shredded store-bought rotisserie chicken before baking. I also skipped browning the panko in a pan and turned on the broiler for a few minutes at the end of cooking, as other reviews have suggested. To really make it taste special, I also drizzled a little truffle oil over the top just before serving. My husband LOVED it, and even requested it for Thanksgiving!

  • Zeolite Posted: 05/20/13
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I made this today and it's awesome. Regular mac and cheese is too rich for me but this is a perfect balance of cheesy and creamy without being too heavy. I didn't pan fry the panko at the end, I just sprinkled it on top and it browned in the oven. And I topped it with chives from my garden and some cubed roasted squash that was extra from the sauce (I roasted it on cookie sheet in with & while the pasta was baking). Excellent recipe!

  • JanetMlr Posted: 11/10/12
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Delicious!! After reading many of the reviews, I'm sure I made one little change no one else tried... I used a can of Whole Foods' organic puréed butternut squash. So no blenders (immersion or otherwise) needed. It wasn't my idea. I gave the recipe to my daughter and she made it before I did. I mixed and heated all the same initial ingredients, including crushed garlic instead of whole, and just followed the recipe. I did add a little dry mustard and nutmeg, which I've always put in my mac & cheese. I used whole wheat bowtie pasta, and whole wheat Panko breadcrumbs. I'll definitely be making this again... and so much easier than make a roux and bechamel! And even easier since I didn't have to move from the pot to the blender to a bowl. I added the other ingredients, cheeses and the pasta to the heated mixture in the same pot.

  • laurac281 Posted: 09/25/12
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    My family LOVED this recipe! I will admit up front that I used cheeses that I already had on hand in my fridge, but I used the same total amount that the recipe called for. I used a combo of swiss, monterey jack, and asiago cheeses. I also used a couple tips I saw already posted in the reviews... used my stick blender to blend the cooked butternut squash, and I skipped pre-toasting the panko crumbs, and simply turned the broiler on at the end of baking for 1-2 minutes. Worked perfectly! I only made 1/2 the recipe, but wish I'd made the full recipe. My daughter wanted it in her lunch tomorrow, and my husband wanted more! Can't wait to make it again.

  • TiffaniAnn Posted: 04/10/12
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    This is my second time making it. The first time I just used Swiss cheese, not the expensive Gruyere. This time I went with cheddar because it was in the fridge. I made a batch and froze the leftovers in small batches for my little one. She loves it, and my husband enjoys it too. It's creamy and a little sweet. To save time, I cube up the squash on a weekend when I have more time and prepare the mac n cheese the night before we plan to eat it. The day of, I take it out of the fridge after work, let it sit for a bit and toss it in the oven to reheat.

  • zandar2 Posted: 03/11/12
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    it is good but mine came out a little dry

  • vickizung Posted: 10/26/12
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Have made this several times for different crowds and everyone always LOVES it, even little kids. No one knows there's butternut squash in it unless I tell them. Almost any cheese works. I puree in the pan with an immersion blender and then again after adding the cheese until the sauce is silky smooth. The true secret is in cooking the squash with chicken stock and garlic. It adds so much flavor ... yum!

  • Rachel12345 Posted: 12/06/12
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Made last night with a few changes. Made about 2/3 of the milk/broth/squash and about 1/2 lb pasta; used sharp cheddar instead of gruyere; added a pinch of cayene and 1/2 tsp mustard with the salt and pepper. Added the mixture to the hot pasta, and (as starches do) the pasta absorbed the sauce as it cooled. Topped with a little more cheese. Covered while baking, since sauce had already been absorbed. GREAT flavor! Can't think of any reason it wouldn't work with quinoa pastas. And may try it with canned pumpkin next time instead of the squash!

  • Madquilt2008 Posted: 08/13/12
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    This is a great recipe,perfect way to get veggies into your kids and grandkids. They loved it. I sometimes substituted swiss and/or colby for the cheese. Any of these work in this recipe.

  • jcg469 Posted: 11/25/12
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Also tried with the pureed butternut squash and recommend it for time savings as well - was really fantastic! Don't cut out the garlic, that made the dish.

  • topchefnotramen Posted: 05/08/13
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I couldn't find gruyere cheese at my supermarket, so I used a combination of a couple cheeses I had on hand; shredded mozzarella, garlic and herb cheddar, and shredded cheddar jack. I also used half a head of garlic, and added cheyenne, paprika, and seasoning salt, because I didn't have chicken broth. I thought this recipe was amazing, and really rich. I made it with the new Barilla veggie pasta, specifically the penne. This recipe is a great guide, and open to a lot of variation depending on you and your family's taste!

  • koriander Posted: 02/10/13
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    This recipe was so unusual I had to try it. It turned out amazingly good. A few things different. I used a public box of frozen mashed butternut which was 12 oz, and used 4 oz extra milk to make up the 16 oz difference. I also used less pasta (maybe 3/4 box?) Because I love mine saucy. I freshly grated my cheese. I heated up the squash mix as directed and skipped the blender step. I will definately make again.

  • mfc129 Posted: 03/02/13
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Excellent! I made it using brown rice pasta. The starchiness of it added to the creaminess.

  • AshleyEvans Posted: 02/25/13
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    This was really good. I added extra garlic and maybe a half a cup more butternut squash, plus I used 2% milk. Otherwise, I followed the recipe. It turned out spectacular. I actually had a ton of sauce versus the other reviewers who said it was too dry (however, I used an immersion blender, so I didn't lose any liquid from transferring from pot to pot). Toasting the panko breadcrumbs and cheese in a pan added a nice crunch -- in fact, even leftovers in the fridge tasted crunchy. The leftovers were amazing (even cold) since the cheese didn't harden with the addition of the squash. Super creamy and delicious...I prefer this to many full-fat options that I've made! This will definitely make the regular rotation!

  • emloumar Posted: 04/26/12
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I thought this was excellent. I will definitely be making this again. Based on other reviews, I baked the mac and cheese for 5 minutes only just to heat the bread crumbs on top. It was not dry at all. I also used a little extra gruyere because i didn't want to have any left over cheese. Overall, this was a great recipe.

  • jenggeb Posted: 04/11/14
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Really tasty! I broiled it for the last few minutes to get the breadcrumbs brown and crispy.

  • cnl5031 Posted: 11/19/13
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I took advice from some reviewers before me and used less pasta ( wheat rigatoni) and I added a half a cup of milk. I used 2 cups of an italian cheese mix. I also added italian seasoning to the bread crumbs and kept the casserole covered up until the last 10 minutes. It was very moist and delicious!

  • Lisajane Posted: 04/16/14
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    This was insane! Swapped out the chicken stock for vegetable stock and used smoked gruyere instead of regular. Best Mac and Cheese I've ever made. My daughter insisted on seconds.

advertisement

More From Cooking Light