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This easy, delicious one pot butternut squash mac & cheese is ready in under 20 minutes! Great for the whole family, and the kids won’t even know they are eating sneaky veggies!
When it comes to dinner around here, easy is what I do best. I tend to work longer hours than most as a small business owner, and when a big part of my job is preparing and photographing food, the last thing I want to do at meal time is spend even more time in the kitchen. Pasta is big at my house, but it is easy to get into the “red sauce rut” and go for the same old spaghetti every time. I love finding new and creative pasta dishes, so lately I have been experimenting with different vegetable combinations and one-pot methods. I recently came up with something amazing, and had to share: butternut squash mac and cheese.
This pasta is rich, buttery, and tastes indulgent without actually being indulgent. It’s great for the entire family, and even my picky kids love it. They normally don’t go anywhere near most veggies, especially something “out there” like a butternut squash, but they don’t even realize they are eating it with this recipe! I call it plain old mac and cheese to them, and they have no idea. Be sure to check out the full recipe video at the end of the post, and here is what you need:
- 2 cups uncooked Barilla Pronto Penne
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup cubed butternut squash
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- Fresh chopped parsley to taste
The first thing you are going to do is peel and chop your butternut squash, then boil it for 5 minutes, drain it, and squish it up into a paste with a fork or blender.
Next, combine your pasta and vegetable stock in a large pot or skillet, and cook on medium/high for 10 minutes. The pasta cooks off and absorbs the vegetable stock, which adds a great layer of flavor while eliminating the normal prep work that goes into a dish like this. Awesome, right?
I have experimented with different pasta brands before, but so far the my favorite is Barilla Pronto. I first saw it at Walmart and decided to give it a try, and it has been my go-to ever since! The beauty of Barilla Pronto pasta is that it cuts out everything I hate about making pasta – waiting for the water to boil, draining, transferring pots, and all that nonsense. It is a huge time saver, and I can definitely get behind that! This pasta was selected for a Better Homes & Gardens Best New Product Award for 2016, and I can totally see why!
Once your pasta is soft and your liquid is absorbed, spoon in your butternut squash and heavy cream. Reduce heat to medium, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Next, sprinkle both cheeses in, stir, cover, and cook for the final 10 minutes Lastly, stir once more, sprinkle with panko, parmesan cheese, and some fresh parsley.
Serve immediately. This makes four servings, but you can easily double the recipe if you are using it for a larger family dinner.
If you want to see just how easy this was, here is the full video: