We’ve been having unusually cold weather here in Southeast Tennessee, so we wanted to make something for dinner that would be seasonally appropriate and also warm us up a bit.
Thomas’ mom randomly gave him this HUGE butternut squash the other day, but we have never actually made anything with butternut squash and we weren’t sure what to do with it quite honestly. Then, the next day as we were surfing through our regular round of food blogs, we happened to come across this recipe from The Kitchn and it was like it was fate. We knew exactly what we were having for dinner that night.
The best part is we had most of the ingredients already! If you’re looking for a warm, cozy, sort of (SORT OF) healthy dinner to make on a cold night, this is the pasta recipe for you. We may never got back to regular mac and cheese again. Here’s what you’re going to need…
1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes, or 1 (15-ounce) bag frozen cubed butternut squash (do not thaw)
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the pasta water
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 pound dry small pasta shells
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 6 ounces)
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
Place the squash, milk, water, and salt in a large pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes. (If using frozen squash, it will be tender by the time it comes to a simmer, so do not cover and cook). Turn off the heat and set aside. Meanwhile, cook the pasta.
Bring another large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions until al dente, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain the pasta and set aside.
Use an immersion blender to purée the milk and squash into a smooth sauce. Stir in the nutmeg and pepper. Add the cooked pasta, cheddar, Parmesan, and cream cheese, and stir until the pasta is evenly combined and the cheeses are melted.
How easy is that? We had it ready in no time and it was a fun change from our normal everyday-recipes. The Kitchn says leftovers can be stored for up to 5 days refrigerated. Can you guess what we’ve been having for lunch each day since?
Check out more recipes at The Kitchn for daily inspiration on what to make and to channel your inner chef. Happy cooking!