It doesn’t take much to turn your guilty pleasure into a healthier and more nutritious meal. This recipe takes the popular cheesy dish and sneaks in a few vegetables that even the fussiest of eaters won’t realise.
It simply replaces the heavy use of cream in the original mac n’ cheese recipe with a deliciously smooth butternut pumpkin puree and the bonus addition of leek and peas. This dish is a perfect mix of both healthy and delicious and caters to the whole family, making dinners a lot easier.
- 150g butternut pumpkin, cut into chunks
- 300g penne
- 40g butter
- 1 small leek, finely sliced
- 25g flour
- 600ml milk
- 100g frozen peas
- 175g grated cheese
- 1 slice day-old brown bread, blitzed into crumbs
- Preheat oven to 200C or 180C fan forced. Put pumpkin in steamer over boiling water and leave for around 15-20mins or until tender. Drain water and put into food processor until pumpkin is a smooth consistency.
- Cook penne by following the instructions on the packet.
- Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat the butter, add the leek and cook for 2 mins. Add flour and cook for another 1-2 mins while stirring. Take pan off heat and whisk in the milk slowly. Bring pan to heat again and continue stirring to boil then let simmer for 5 mins.
- Add peas and stir, then bring back to simmer. Remove from heat and stir in pumpkin and only 125g of cheese.
- Mix pasta into the sauce then place into an ovenproof dish. Top with remaining cheese and breadcrumbs and bake for 20 mins or until the surface is golden and bubbling.