Photo of Crunchy-top mac-and-cheese by WW

Crunchy-top mac-and-cheese

Points® value
Total Time
1 hr 4 min
15 min
49 min
This cozy, comfort food favourite has everything you'd hope for in a great macaroni and cheese recipe, plus even more. It's creamy, loaded with flavour, topped with crunchy crumbs, and baked to marry all the flavours and textures. The bonus is the addition of butternut squash and cauliflower to the mac-and-cheese mix. They bring great texture, colour, and a nutritional bump to the finished dish without adding much effort to the preparation, and they blend in seamlessly with the other ingredients. To dress up the dish even more, toss a teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme to the toasted panko in Step 2.


Olive oil

1 tsp(s)

Panko breadcrumbs


Butternut squash

20 oz, peeled and cut up

Vegetable broth

¾ cup(s)

Shredded reduced-fat Mexican-style cheese

1 cup(s)

Grated Pecorino cheese

2 tbsp(s)

Light cream cheese

2 tbsp(s), (Neufchatel)

Dijon mustard

1 tsp(s)

Table salt

¾ tsp(s)

Cayenne pepper


Uncooked pasta

4 oz, (1 1/4 cups) mini shells

Uncooked cauliflower

2 cup(s), florets


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick spray. Bring large saucepan of salted water to boil.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add panko and cook, stirring occasionally, until toasted, about 4 minutes; set aside.
  3. Add squash to boiling water; cover and return to boil. Cook, uncovered, until squash is very tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, combine broth, Cheddar, pecorino, cream cheese, mustard, salt, and cayenne in blender. With slotted spoon, transfer cooked squash to blender and puree. (Leave water in pan.)
  5. Bring water back to boil. Cook pasta half the time directed on package; add cauliflower during last minute of cooking time. Drain; return to pot. Stir in puree and toss to coat. Spread pasta mixture in prepared baking dish; top with crumb mixture and spray with nonstick spray. Bake until top is golden and casserole is bubbling, about 25 minutes.
  6. Serving size: about 1¼ cups


SERVING SIZE (about 1¼ cups) 334 Cal, 10 g Total Fat, 5 g Sat Fat, 958 mg Sod, 48 g Total Carb, 6 g Sugar, 0 g Added Sugar, 5 g Fib, 15 g Prot.