Okay, parents with picky eaters. This recipe is for you! I even taste-tested it on my pasta loving, extremely veggie-selective daughter, and she spooned out a second helping onto her plate without even realizing I snuck in a second vegetable. Of course if she reads this post, my secret is out but, hey, it was totally worth it!
And of course, there’s the generous addition of applewood smoked bacon… Need I say anything more?
The best thing about cooking with butternut squash is its mild flavor and texture. It can stand on its own as a side dish, tastes amazing in soup, and is also a great natural thickening ingredient instead of using the old mixture of flour and water.
In this recipe, the pureed squash blends beautifully with the melted sharp cheddar cheese and adds the perfect amount of creamy thickness to stick to the pasta.
6 slices of crisped bacon, chopped
2 cups roasted and pureed butternut squash
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup milk
1 cup fresh broccoli florets
1 box elbow macaroni
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1) Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
2) Cook pasta according to package directions, adding the broccoli to the water during the last 3 minutes of cooking time.
3) Meanwhile, combine the squash puree, stock, milk, 1 cup of the cheese, salt, pepper and garlic powder in a large bowl.
4) Drain the pasta and broccoli and return it to the pan.
5) Stir the bacon and squash mixture into the hot pasta until thoroughly blended and the cheese starts to melt.
6) Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of cheese on top.
7) Bake the pasta in the oven, uncovered for 20-25 minutes until heated through and the cheese is bubbly.
8) Remove from oven and serve hot.