There is nothing that I like better than sitting down to a really GOOD comfort food meal – and when you can take something that you love and give it a twist (for the better) that’s a WIN in my book.
Butternut Squash is also incredibly easy to make in the Instant Pot – not to mention you won’t heat up your house by turning on the oven. Depending on where you live, it takes anywhere from 20-30 minutes – for us, 20 minutes was sufficient.
We jumped on the Instant Pot bandwagon last year (2015) and have been using it at least once daily .. sometimes up to 3-4 times a day. Not only do we love it, we rely on it – it’s one of the best investments we have made.
Just a few days ago we scored organic butternut squash in our CSA bag ~ and immediately I earmarked it for this side dish.
To make your Butternut Squash in the Instant Pot, place the trivet inside of the stainless steel insert, and fill the pot with 1 Cup of water. Cut your butternut squash in half (however it fits) – and don’t bother scooping out seeds as that is easier done later on.
Place the lid on the Instant Pot, and close the valve. Then set the pot to manual (high pressure) for 10 minutes, or, 15 minutes if you live at a higher elevation. Once the pot beeps (done), release the pressure manually, and remove the squash.
You’ll want to scoop out the seeds at this time, and then put the squash back in the Instant Pot. Place the lid back on, and enough water to make 1 Cup, and then close the valve – set the timer for an additional 10 minutes. If you are a higher elevation you’ll opt for 15 minutes – once the pot beeps, release the pressure and carefully scoop the flesh out of the skin.
At this point you can puree it (which is what we did in this recipe, below!)
You can get away with using 1/2 C. of the puree in the macaroni & cheese – but we opted to use a full 3/4 C. of squash in lieu of using more cheese. The pureed squash makes the macaroni & cheese mixture a beautiful orange color that your kids will think is an absolute “load” of cheese – but in reality, it’s squash. 🙂
To make macaroni and cheese for our family of 7 (one being an infant who is still breastfeeding..) we used 1 whole butternut squash. After scooping out the flesh and putting the flesh through the food processor to puree, we had just under 1 Cup – and it was perfect!
That cup made for a very creamy and delicious macaroni & cheese with an amazing flavor!
- 10-12 oz dry elbow pasta
- 1/2 - 3/4 C. pureed butternut squash
- 2 - 2 1/2 C. milk (we used organic raw)
- 1/4 C. butter
- 1/4 C. flour
- 3/4 C. shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
- Optional: breadcrumbs & a little extra shredded cheese for topping
- Prepare the pureed squash ahead of time.
- Start by preparing the pasta by boiling them in water on the stove for 8 minutes - you don't want the noodles too soft (because they will finish cooking in the oven).
- In a skillet on the stovetop, melt the 1/4 c. butter on low heat.
- Add the 1/4 c. flour and mix with the butter to make a thick roux (paste). At that time, add the milk and stir frequently on low/medium until the mixture thickens up nicely.
- Once the mixture has thickened, add the squash and shredded cheese. You are welcome to add more cheese, we opted for close to 3/4 C. puree in lieu of less puree and more cheese.
- Let the cheese melt and then stir the mixture well. Drain the pasta & combine with the sauce - season with salt to taste.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Pour the mixture into a greased casserole dish, and sprinkle with a mixture of breadcrumbs (optional) and a small amount of shredded cheese.
- Bake for 20 minutes at 350 or until breadcrumbs are lightly browned and topping has melted.
We stock up on all of our organic pantry items through Vitacost – including unbleached, organic flour and elbow noodles, and every few weeks they send out coupons by mail (and sometimes even on their website) for 12-15% off your purchase, making it a great time to stock up.