Sweet Potato Mac & Cheese

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Enlightening Entrees!

If you want this to have an even sweeter flavor, use yams which have more natural sugar than sweet potatoes!

1 - large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices on the diagonal
2 tablespoon - extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups elbow macaroni
2 cloves - garlic, finely minced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons - flour
1/2 teaspoon - salt
1/8 teaspoon - freshly ground black pepper
3 cups - half-and-half (*For a lower fat option, use regular/skim milk!!)
2 cups – shredded cheddar cheese (sharp or mild, your choice)
3/4 cup - Asiago cheese, shredded (can use Parmesan as well)
1/4 cup – Panko Bread Crumbs

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 2-quart baking dish with non-stick spray.

Bring water to a boil and add sweet potato slices and cook until tender. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add sweet potatoes and cook, flipping occasionally, until they develop a caramelized crust (about 5 minutes). Dice sweet potatoes. Set aside.

Bring another large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain. In a large pot over low heat, melt butter and add olive oil. Add flour and stir to combine. Cook, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes. Increase the heat to medium, add in salt and pepper, and, with a wire whisk, gradually add the half & half or milk. Bring to a boil while continuously stirring. Reduce heat, and then simmer for 1 minute. Stir 1 3/4 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese and 1/2 cup Asiago cheese until melted and smooth. Add the diced sweet potatoes, minced garlic, and cooked pasta. Stir to combine. Pour into buttered (or sprayed) casserole dish.

To make topping, combine remaining tablespoon olive oil, bread crumbs, 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese, and 1/4 cup Asiago cheese in a small mixing bowl. Stir until well combined. Sprinkle on top of pasta. Bake for 25 min, or until cheese is bubbly and topping golden brown. Serves 8.