Crispy Mac and Cheese Cups

Recipe courtesy Bobby Deen
Show: Not My Mama's Meals Episode: Say Cheese!
TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 25 min
Prep: 25 min
Inactive Prep: --
Cook: 1 hr
 
YIELD: 12 servings
LEVEL: Easy

ingredients

BUTTERNUT SQUASH PUREE:
  • 1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Black pepper
MAC AND CHEESE:
TOPPING:
  • 1 slice whole-grain bread, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • Canola oil, for drizzling
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley, for garnish
  • Special equipment: twelve 6-ounce ramekins
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Directions

For the butternut squash puree: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread the squash out on a baking sheet and sprinkle with the oil, salt and pepper. Roast until tender, 25 minutes; allow to cool slightly. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until smooth. Measure out 1 1/2 cups puree.

For the mac and cheese: Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water, and transfer the cooked pasta back into the hot pot it was cooked in.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large saucepan. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and simmer until thickened; add the onion powder, salt, ground mustard and cayenne. Stir in the Cheddar, pecorino and 1 1/2 cups squash puree and cook until the cheese is melted. Pour the cheese sauce into the drained pasta and mix well. Slowly incorporate the reserved pasta water, mixing well, using about 3/4 cup depending on desired creaminess.

Spray twelve 6-ounce ramekins with nonstick cooking spray; fill with about 3/4 cup of the pasta mixture and place on a large baking sheet.

For the topping: Put the bread in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until the bread is in fine crumbs. Mix the breadcrumbs with the Parmesan and sprinkle some of the mixture over each portion of pasta; drizzle each serving with a teaspoon of canola oil. Bake until the crust becomes golden and crispy, 12 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately.

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  • on May 19, 2013

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    I'm sorry, while this was certainly healthy and not bad tasting it tastes NOTHING like macaroni and cheese. I would have to agree with Paula - it's just "okay". The problem is - when you want something like Mac and cheese, even a healthy alternative needs to live up to the original dish in some way, and none of the favors resembled the original comfort food. I've tried some weight watcher versions of the recipe that are actually really good and far less complicated to make. Also, I'm surprised that some of the reviewers managed to fool their kids. Mine were not fooled and I had a hard time convincing them to eat it - and they had no idea about the squash.

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  • on January 23, 2013

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    This sauce is incredibly delicious. It doesn't taste quite like the mac and cheese I'm used to, but way better than I was expecting for a lower calorie, healthier version. The only issue I had with this recipe was that I had to roast the butternut squash about 10 minutes longer, and I still didn't get a very smooth puree, so I added a little chicken stock, and that helped it puree better. I'm not a huge fan of pecorino, so I subbed 1/4 cup of parm and 1/4 cup of goat cheese for that, and that combined with a sharp cheddar gave it an amazing cheesy, tangy flavor. It contrasted nicely with the hint of sweetness the butternut squash adds. I also baked it in one big dish for 20 min. instead of individual dishes. I will definitely be making this again.

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  • on January 05, 2013

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    This is the best healthy mac & chs we've ever had. We love mac & chs and have been trying to find a healthy alternative for awhile but they all are tasteless and the texture is horrible, not this one, this one is full of flavor and has great texture. We were very hesitant of trying it especially after watching the episode when Paula said she didn't like it..Paula, I'm sorry, you're wrong...it's great! We have made it a few times and it is hasn't failed us yet. We even served it to an unexpected guest one night and he really enjoyed it too.

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