Looking for a classic comfort food, but craving some new flavors? Try making butternut squash mac and cheese this evening. It’s the perfect healthy substitute to satisfy your comfort food cravings.

Butternut Squash: Nutritional Value

The butternut squash is now one of the most widely prepared winter foods, and for good reason. It is a richly flavorful, healthy choice to add to a winter diet. Because it is naturally low in fat and calories, you can eat lots of it guilt-free. It also contains vitamins A, B6, C, E, magnesium, potassium, and manganese in its delicious fruitful center. All of these nutrients are sure to keep you feeling warm and healthy throughout the long winter here in Vermont.

Butternut Squash Origin

Since its first recorded cultivation in Stow, Massachusetts in the 1940s, the butternut squash has been a popular winter food choice all over the world.

The first known variety, the Waltham Butternut, was developed by Charles Leggett and introduced to the Waltham Field Station in Massachusetts in the early 1940s. Since then, many other versions of the winter squash were introduced into the produce industry.

The butternut squash is a winter squash that grows on a vine and shares a similar sweet nutty flavor to that of pumpkin. It is a popular food that many people add to sweeten up their fall and winter meals.

How to Prepare

Butternut squash can be prepared in many different ways. Whether you are someone who wants it baked, roasted or pureed into a soup, the butternut squash is the perfect option for your dinner table this winter.

It is most popularly roasted or puréed into soup, but there are countless other options for enjoying it this winter. It is the perfect complement to mild, sweet meats such as chicken, roast pork or even roast beef. You can add it to stew or even have it cubed with smoky bacon and fresh apple pieces for a very fall themed dish.

Does this sound something you may be interested in? Try out this recipe; it may just be the perfect thing for your table.

Butternut Mac and Cheese

  • 11/24kgdried pasta
  • 4Tbspunsalted butter
  • 1/2onion, finely chopped
  • 3cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1tspdried thyme
  • 4Tbspflour
  • 2cupsmilk
  • 2cupsgrated cheddar
  • 2cupsbutternut squash puree
  • 1tspDijon mustard
  • 1/4tspground nutmeg
  • 1/4tspcayenne
  • 1/4tspblack pepper
  1. Cook pasta in a large pot of salted, boiling water. Drain 2 minutes shy of package instructions and set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and thyme, cooking until onions are soft (~5 minutes). Stir in flour and cook for about 3 minutes, then add milk- stirring until sauce begins to thicken (a few minutes).
  3. Remove sauce from heat and stir in cheddar. Add squash, mustard, nutmeg, cayenne, and black pepper and mix in. Season to taste with salt.
  4. Pour cheese sauce over pasta until sufficiently coated. Using a spatula, transfer to a 9x13 baking dish.
  5. Bake in a 375 degree oven until sauce bubbles around the edges (25-30 minutes).
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For more on butternut squash, including recipes, book recommendations, and fun activities for kids, check out the Vermont Harvest of the Month website.

Get more recipes from the UVM Medical Center. View our Recipe Collection by clicking here. 

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