I recently found a recipe in Bon Appetit for macaroni and cheese. The cool thing about this recipe was that you added the pasta UNCOOKED with a little extra water in the sauce and it cooked as it baked, and as a result ended up extra creamy.
I tried it Thai-style. It works!
And as in Thai cuisine, the meat in this dish acts more as a garnish. The vegetables are the main act.
Baked Butternut Mac and Satay
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 can light coconut milk
2 1/2 Tbsp sweet chili sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
3 cups water
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
2/3 cup carrots, sliced
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1 cup shredded kale
2 cloves garlic, pressed and finely minced
3-4 green onions, chopped
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 serrano pepper, seeded and chopped
1 lb whole grain pasta of your choice
12 oz boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked, shredded or cut into bite-size pieces
2 tsp sesame seeds
Bring a large pot of water to boil under a steamer basket. Add squash to steamer and cook covered until very soft, ~ 10 minutes. Remove from steamer and set aside.
Combine all sauce ingredients in a large bowl, including butternut squash, and use an immersion blender to mix well. Place covered in refrigerator for ~1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, peppers, carrots, cabbage and kale and saute until slightly soft, ~ 5 minutes.
Spray a 9 x 12" casserole dish lightly with olive oil spray. In a large bowl, mix together sauteed vegetables, pasta, chicken, cilantro, green onions, and sauce. Transfer mixture to casserole dish, making sure that all ingredients are submerged below liquid. Cover dish with aluminum foil. Transfer to the oven on the middle rack to bake for ~40 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Return to oven and bake for additional 10-15 minutes, until pasta is soft.
Remove from oven and allow to set for 5 minutes prior to serving.
Nutrition Info per 1 serving: 360 calories, 19 g fat (8 g monounsaturated, 6 g polyunsaturated), 14 g protein, 30 g carbohydrates, 7 g fiber