by SPARK


The following recipe is from Bernadette Garcia-Roger, Master Trainer for the SPARK Early Childhood program:

Bernadette’s Holiday Butternut Squash Casserole

Here’s one of my favorite comfort food dishes for the holidays. I love this because it’s a bit more healthy with the squash (seasonal vegetable) added in. I’ve made this quite often and there are never any leftovers! Ricotta and pureed squash give this familiar dish its creaminess.

Yield: Serves 6

Ingredients

1 small butternut squash (about 1 pound), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 cups)

1 cup homemade or low-sodium canned chicken stock, skimmed of fat

1 1/2 cups nonfat milk

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Pinch of cayenne pepper

3/4 teaspoon coarse salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 pound elbow macaroni

4 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated (about 1 cup)

4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, finely grated (1 ounce)

2 tablespoons fine breadcrumbs

1 teaspoon olive oil

Olive-oil, cooking spray

1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine squash, stock, and milk in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Mash contents of saucepan; stir in nutmeg, cayenne, and salt, and season with black pepper. Stir to combine.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles; cook until al dente according to package instructions, about 8 minutes. Drain, and transfer to a large bowl; stir in squash mixture, cheddar, ricotta, and 2 tablespoons Parmesan.
  • Lightly coat a 9-inch square baking dish (4 inches deep) with cooking spray. Transfer noodle mixture to dish. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan, and oil; sprinkle evenly over noodle mixture.
  • Cover with foil, and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil, and continue baking until lightly browned and crisp on top, 30 to 40 minutes more. Serve immediately.

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