Butternut Squash Macaroni & Cheese

Adapted from Rachel Ray's Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese, this dish is very good considering it has a cup of squash and not nearly the fat content of regular macaroni and cheese dishes.  Using a higher fiber pasta makes it healthier without distracting from the taste.  Roasted butternut squash adds more flavor to this dish but must be pureed until smooth before adding it to this dish if kids are eating it.  Frozen puree is not as tasty as roasted squash, but it's smooth and convenient.  You may consider adding 2 tablespoons of butter, rather than one, the first time you make it just to be sure it's well accepted.  Cream (1 cup) can replace both milk and yogurt the first time, as well.  Once it's a hit, use healthier options!
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1 pound macaroni elbow high-fiber, whole grain pasta 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoons butter 1/2 medium onion, finely grated 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, (optional) 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 heaping tbsp of refrigerated soup base (Better Than Bouillon, Reduced Sodium) mixed with 2 cups water 1 box frozen cooked winter squash (10 ounces), defrosted or roasted butternut squash, pureed 3/4 milk 5 tbsp nonfat plain Greek yogurt 2 to 2 1/2 cups extra sharp cheddar (8 ounces), grated 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Romano 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg, (optional) Sea salt and Black pepper, to taste


1) Heat a pot of salted water to boil for the pasta.  Add pasta and cook to al dente.  
2) While pasta cooks, heat a medium, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat.  Add the oil and butter.  When the butter melts into the oil, add the thyme (optional) and grated onion (use mini food processor to grate onion if you have one).  
3) Cook the grated onion in butter and oil 1-2 minutes, then add flour and cook together for 1-2 more minutes.  Whisk in stock, then combine with butternut squash (drain off extra water first if using frozen) until warmed through and smooth.  
4) Mix yogurt and milk together in a measuring cup first (or use 1 cup cream) then stir in and bring sauce to a bubble.  Stir in cheeses and season to taste.  Taste to adjust seasonings.  
5) Drain cooked pasta well and combine with sauce.  Use a slotted spoon and serve immediately.  It can be a bit runny at first, but as it sits the extra liquid gets absorbed.  Enjoy!