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Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

The pureed roasted butternut squash makes this mac and cheese so velvety and creamy, without being too rich or heavy.  It’s the perfect autumn dinner–warm and comforting, just like your favorite sweater!

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
Yield:  8 servings
Time:  40 minutes

1 medium butternut squash
1 onion (white or yellow)
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
2 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. flour
1½ cups milk
2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded manchego cheese*
3 tbsp. fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
1 lb. pasta (I use cellentani–a corkscrew shape)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.  Lightly grease a 9″x13″ glass baking dish.  Set aside.
  2. Using a vegetable peeler, peel off the tough outer skin of the squash.  Slice in half and scoop out the seeds.  Cut into cubes, roughly 1-inch square.  Place on a large, lightly greased baking sheet.  Coarsely chop the onion and add to the baking sheet.  Drizzle with 1 tbsp. EVOO and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast at 400°F for 25-30 minutes, until the squash is fork-tender.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta al dente, according to the package instructions.
  4. Make the roux:  In a stock pot over medium heat, combine 1 tbsp. EVOO and 2 tbsp. butter.  Once melted, add the flour and whisk constantly for 2-3 minutes.  Slowly drizzle in the milk, continuing to whisk.  Bring to a light boil and allow the roux to thicken slightly, cooking over medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat.
  5. When the roasted butternut squash and onions are ready, remove from the oven and set aside roughly ¼ of the roasted veggies.  Add the remaining ¾ of the squash/onions to the roux.  Blend together using an immersion blender.  (Alternatively, you could use a blender to puree together the roux and roasted veggies.)  Stir in 2 tbsp. of fresh rosemary.
  6. Combine both shredded cheeses together.  Set aside ¾ cup total of the mixed cheese to use in step 7.  Stir the remaining cheese into the roux/squash mixture.  Add the cooked pasta and toss to coat.
  7. Transfer the mac and cheese to the prepared baking dish.  Sprinkle with the reserved ¾ cup of mixed shredded cheese and remaining 1 tbsp. of fresh rosemary.  Scatter the remaining roasted butternut squash and onions across the top, distributing evenly.
  8. Bake at 400ºF for about 8 minutes, until bubbly.  Broil for about 4 minutes until the top cheese is slightly browned.

* I know that manchego is not a typical cheese to use in mac and cheese.  I usually stick with cheddar or gruyere, but I had a huge hunk of manchego in my fridge calling my name and I decided to give it a try.  It ended up being absolutely perfect!  It melted wonderfully and provided a buttery, creamy quality without being overly strong.  It’s my new go-to cheese for mac!

PDF to Print Recipe for Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

A few notes:

  • Feel free to sprinkle with breadcrumbs between steps 7 and 8 if you like a crispy topping.  I honestly meant to add breadcrumbs when I made this, and forgot.  It turned out that it didn’t even need them, but it certainly wouldn’t ruin the recipe!
  • This is a great make-ahead recipe!  Follow the recipe through step 7, then store in the refrigerator for up to one day before heating.  Just extend the cooking time in step 8 to about 30-40 minutes at 400ºF to ensure it’s fully heated through!
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