Serves 6.

Note: Panko bread crumbs are lighter and bigger than the traditional dry crumb, which could be substituted. Peel and remove the seeds of the butternut squash before cubing it. Cubed squash is sometimes pre-cut in the produce section (Costco carries it). Try serving this hearty vegetarian dish as an entrée with a crispy green salad on the side.

• 21/2 c. (1/2 -in.) cubed butternut squash (see Note)

• 3 tsp. olive oil, divided

• 1/2 tsp. salt, divided

• Freshly ground black pepper to taste

• 21/4 c. (1 percent) low-fat milk, divided

• 1 medium onion, sliced

• 1 bay leaf

• 1 garlic clove, crushed

• 12 oz. uncooked elbow macaroni

• 2 tbsp. flour

• 11/3 c. shredded Cheddar cheese

• 1/2 c. panko bread crumbs (see Note)

• 2 tbsp. grated fresh Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Place the squash on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons of the oil, season lightly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Arrange in a single layer and roast for 20 minutes. Turn squash over and continue to cook for another 20 minutes or until it is lightly browned. Set aside.

Meanwhile, bring 13/4 cup milk, onion, bay leaf and garlic clove in a large saucepan to a simmer over low heat. Remove from heat; let stand 15 minutes.

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

Strain milk mixture through a colander over a bowl; discard solids. Return milk to saucepan over medium heat. Combine remaining 1/2 cup milk and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Gradually stir flour mixture and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt into warm milk, stirring constantly with a whisk.

Bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Gradually add the cheese a handful at a time, stirring until cheese melts after each addition. Stir in pasta and roasted squash. Spoon mixture into a 2-quart broiler-safe glass or ceramic baking dish.

Preheat broiler.

In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and remaining 1 teaspoon oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over pasta. Place dish on middle rack in oven; broil 2 minutes or until golden brown.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 467 Fat 14 g Sodium 690 mg

Carbohydrates 65 g Saturated fat 7 g Calcium 320 mg

Protein 21 g Cholesterol 32 mg Dietary fiber 5 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1/2 milk, 4 bread/starch, 1 high-fat meat, 1 fat.