Squash mac and cheese isn’t just a healthier version of a classic recipe. Butternut squash adds a sweetness to the sauce, and makes it even creamier!
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
I love butternut squash so much I could eat it every day. I usually just roast cubes of it in the oven, or boil and mash it like potatoes. But one tip I’ve picked up from using Plated is that adding butternut squash to mac and cheese makes it even creamier and tastier!
On Thanksgiving I always make some kind of mac and cheese. I have five or six different recipes that I like to use, and really any one of them would be great. But I love the idea of adding butternut squash to a classic recipe to make it seem even more fall-like!
This picture isn’t the best, because I made it just to test the idea out—I wasn’t thinking at the time about putting it on my blog. But it was so delicious I just had to!
It’s rare that I hit a home run on the first try when making a recipe, but this one was all I hoped it would be. The butternut squash adds a sweetness that was really special, but doesn’t scream “There’s a vegetable in my macaroni and cheese!!!” This is a mild, subtle mac and cheese.
The great thing about this recipe is that you don’t have to cook the sauce first. No making a roux, no standing there stirring forever to avoid lumps. The milk goes onto the pasta cold and thickens up during baking.
You can choose your own pasta for this mac and cheese, too. I used penne, but you could also use elbows, bow-ties, ziti, shells, really anything.
This is my favorite way to grate cheese for a recipe, because I can easily see how much I’ve grated. There’s even a solid lid so that you can grate the cheese ahead of time and then put it away until you need it, without making extra dishes for yourself!
I promise you, this is a flavorful recipe that improves on mac and cheese while giving you some extra nutritional benefits. Let me know what you think
- 8 ounces pasta, uncooked
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 5 ounces butternut squash, raw, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/4 tsp ground sage
- 1 1/2 cups milk, preferably whole
- 1 cup sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
- salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375° F
- Cook pasta according to package instructions until al dente, drain, and put in a casserole dish; add butter, stir, and set aside
- While pasta cooks (or after, if you want to re-use the pasta pot), fill a saucepan half-full with water, add a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil
- Add cubed squash and cook until tender, then drain
- Mash with a fork and set aside
- Put flour and ground sage in a 2-cup glass measuring cup or medium bowl; add 1/2 cup of milk, whisking until flour is completely dissolved and there are no clumps of sage
- Add the rest of the milk (1 cup) and whisk to combine
- Add the mashed squash and shredded cheese to the pasta in the casserole dish, and stir well to combine
- Add milk mixture and stir; taste, and add salt and pepper as needed
- Cover with oven-proof lid or tinfoil and bake for 30 minutes
- Remove from oven, uncover, and sprinkle breadcrumbs evenly over top
- Return to oven and bake, uncovered, for another ten minutes
- Serve hot
Make sure that the casserole dish you use is big enough - you'll be combining all of the ingredients in it, and you'll need room to stir!
Despite the name of this dish, you don't have to use macaroni to make this. You can use penne, ziti, bow-ties, shells, really any kind of pasta that you want!