Enjoy this healthy dinner recipe taken from RTE's Operation Transformation

  • Serves: 2 people
  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 40 minutes
    • American
    • Vegetarian

    Butternut Mac ’n’ Cheese

    Recipe Information

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    1 butternut squash

    1 small onion

    100g macaroni pasta

    1 tbsp softened butter (15g)

    20g plain flour

    270ml low fat milk (1.5% fat)

    1 tsp English mustard (5g)

    40g Cheddar cheese

    50g sugar snap peas

    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


    Peel the butternut squash and then cut in half and remove the seeds. Dice the flesh and steam for 10-12 minutes or until tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Tip into a bowl and blend to a puree with a hand blender (or if you don’t have one, mash to a rough puree with a fork or a potato masher).

    Cut the onion in half, then peel and very finely chop. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a medium to low heat. Sauté the onion for 2-3 minutes until softened but not coloured.

    Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring quickly with a wooden spoon to make a smooth glossy paste (which is called a roux). Remove from the heat and gradually pour in the milk, whisking until smooth after each addition. Season lightly with salt, if using and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until smooth and thickened. Add the mustard, then grate in the cheese and remove from the heat, then stirring until melted.

    Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / gas mark 4. Bring the macaroni to the boil in a large saucepan of boiling water with a pinch of salt, if using, then reduce the heat and cook for 7-8 minutes or according to packet instructions. Drain in a colander in the sink and return to the pan. Fold in the cheese sauce with the butternut puree until evenly combined.

    Transfer to two 300ml individual ovenproof dishes (or just use one large one). Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until bubbling and lightly golden.

    When the mac ‘n’ cheese is almost ready. Place the sugar snap peas in a petal steamer fitted into a saucepan and cook for 1-2 minutes until just tender. Arrange the butternut mac ‘n’ cheese on plates and season with pepper. Put the sugar snap peas alongside to serve.