Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients

1 1/2 to 2 cups cooked roasted squash
1 cup milk (I use 2-percent milk; use whatever you have, including soy or almond milk)
2 garlic cloves, minced (I use roasted garlic)
1 teaspoon stone ground mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 (16-ounce) box uncooked elbow noodles
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs (optional)
Fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. Using a blender or food processor, puree squash, milk, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper. Transfer to a saucepan and heat mixture over medium heat until warm. Reduce heat to low and add shredded cheese in half-cup increments, stirring constantly until melted.
  3. Remove pan from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste (Note: The puree will taste like squash at this time, but this will change and the results will amaze you. Do not try to add spices or other items to change the squash flavor.).
  4. Cook pasta to according to the directions on the box (approximately six minutes; do not overcook). Drain the pasta and transfer to a large pan or bowl. Fold in the squash-cheese mixture.
  5. Transfer pasta mixture into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spread evenly, but do not pat down. Shake and tap the dish to level the mix.
  6. If desired, mix parsley, breadcrumbs and/or additional cheese and sprinkle over the top. Bake 25 minutes or until brown and bubbly.

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