Summer Squash Mac N’ Cheese

Sure, the best macaroni and cheeses involve four gourmet types of cheese, a quart of heavy cream, a hot oven, and some homemade bread crumbs, but sometimes a box of dried pasta with a packet of cheese powder is all that stares back at you from the cupboard. In this moment, a couple simple additions will give your boxed mac a punch of nutrition and a kick of flavor in the time it takes the box of Annie’s to cook.

This recipe is wonderful for disguising vegetables for picky kids. We made this one with patty pan squash, the scalloped flying saucer-like squash that have been appearing in CSA boxes lately. It  has a subtly sweet flavor and the yellow skin and white flesh blend right in to the pasta. If you don’t have patty pan, any summer squash will do. You’ll want about 1-2 cups of it diced.


1 box mac n’ cheese
1 medium patty pan squash, diced into small squares or strips 
1/2 onion, sliced thinly
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced finely 
salt and pepper

1. Prepare Mac n’ Cheese according to package instructions (I’m assuming it goes something like this: boil water, cook macaroni, strain, mix with powdered cheese and milk)

2. While the pasta is cooking, caramelize the onion in a hot skillet with a bit of oil. When the onion is getting nice and golden brown, add the chopped squash and minced garlic. Add a touch of water to help soften and cook the squash. Turn off heat when squash is very tender, but not mushy.

3. Combine prepared mac n’ cheese with squash/onion combo and 1/2 cup shredded cheese. Stir until added cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper.