My dear friend Vanessa, a great chef, was kind enough to send me one of her recipes to try. I happen to be allergic to shrimp, but you could also use grilled chicken or ground turkey instead. One of my favorite foods happens to be mac & cheese, so I’ll be sure to give this healthier alternative a try! Looks delicious, Vanessa!
Squash & Prawns Mac
From Vanessa Lee
This recipe was adapted from Giada De Laurentiis’ Rigatoni with butternut squash: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/rigatoni-with-squash-and-prawns-recipe/index.html
Although her recipe calls for butternut squash, you can use any winter squash you find. I used frozen for its convenience. However, you can buy fresh, peel, cube, and saute until tender. Then puree. Sometimes you can find fresh squash already cubed, that would save you a few steps.
I couldn’t believe how rich and filling this dish was. In fact, I believe I may have found the perfect alternative to mac & cheese. Kids will not miss the old high cholesterol & high fat mac & cheese, and neither should you. This recipe uses 1/2 – 3/4 cup of cheese at most and that’s for a whole 16 oz bag of dry pasta; no butter, no cream. Just about 1/2 cup – 1 cup of milk.
In addition, winter squash (the main part of the sauce) is so good for you:
Winter squash is a low-calorie, good source of complex vegetable carbohydrates and dietary fiber.
It is an excellent source of vitamin A, a great source of vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber and manganese, and a good source of folate, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B1 (thiamin), copper, tryptophan, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B3 (niacin) and vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid).
It is also a source of niacin, iron and beta carotene. Usually, the darker the skin is, the higher the beta carotene content. – Information from Wikipedia
I served it with shrimp as Giada suggested, but you can do chopped grilled chicken may be even mix in ground turkey. Another alternative I thought of is changing up the type of cheese you use or adding a little spice. Originally I made it with shredded romano, but what about adding smoked paprika and using sharp cheddar instead – sounds good!
- 1 stalk of leeks, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
- 2 packets of frozen, cooked squash
- about 1 cup of vegetable, or chicken stock
- about 1 cup of milk
- 1 bag of brown rice macaroni elbow pasta, cooked al dente ( I usehttp://www.tinkyada.com/ProList.htm )
- 1/2 cup basil, chiffonade
- about 3/4 cup of romano cheese
- 1 lb shrimp, peeled & de-veined
- Olive oil (to saute)
- Cayenne pepper
- Smoked paprika (must be smoked)
- Saute the leeks & garlic until soft
- Add the frozen squash and allow to begin defrosting in the pan, add salt & pepper
- When the squash is about 50% melted, add the stock and allow to simmer on low until the squash is fully melted
- Add the milk into the squash, add the pasta, 1/2 tbsp of paprika, 1/2 the cheese and 1/2 the basil, then fold carefully not to break the pasta
- Set aside
- Saute the shrimp with salt, pepper and a sprinkle of cayenne
- Serve the pasta in a bowl, sprinkle with cheese, basil, and top with a few sauteed shrimp.
If you’d like more information on the San Fernando Valley or Los Angeles, or to have help looking for your next home, please feel free to reach out! I’m happy to help, no obligation.