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Creamy Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Creamy Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

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A creamy 3-cheese mac with a butternut squash sauce tossed with noodles and baked.

I love food.

Especially fall food. You know, squash… cranberries… Brussels… I could seriously go on for days, but I want to put the focus down on butternut squash. Yep. It really is the most velvety, luxurious veggie out there {and it’s just so darn pretty}. And I’m going to go ahead and throw it in one of my other favorite things: Mac. And. Cheese. Really, who doesn’t love a hearty, comforting bowl of cheesy-noodle-goodness?

But before we dig right in, I want you to know about the first time I had Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese. It was a chilly fall day and I wanted to cook a lighter version of a classic favorite. It seemed like an impossible journey. How can you make mac and cheese without at least one stick of butter and a pound of cheese? Well, I dialed the food Gods at Cooking Light {they never disappoint}, and discovered a deliciously satisfying cheese sauce made with squash. And Greek yogurt. I mean, how cool is that? So I fell in love, and have made the dish over and over again, and have tweaked and twisted it to make it my own. {I know you think I am crazy right now, but I promise this dish will please even the pickiest eaters/squash-haters out there, like my husband.}

And can we talk about cavatappi pasta? Do I even need to describe why it is so awesome?

Each little tubular noodle traps loads of sauce, meaning that each bite gives a burst of creamy, gooeyness that is pretty much, well… awesome. And then top it off {literally} with crispy breadcrumbs and it’s just totally unfair. Or perfect.

See Also

Seriously, the cheese…

Creamy Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Julie Andrews
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course Main
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 large butternut squash about 3 lbs.*
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 lb. cavatappi uncooked
  • 3 Tbsp. plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 ½ cups nonfat milk
  • 1 1/4 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 ½-2 tsp. coarse salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. each nutmeg and cayenne pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. salted butter
  • 2 ½ cups shredded marble jack cheese
  • ½ cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese divided
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut butternut squash in half, lengthwise, and scoop out seeds. Place in baking dish, flesh side down, and pour water in the baking dish. Roast in oven for 35-40 minutes, until soft. Scoop out cooked flesh and discard skin. Set squash flesh aside.
  • Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt. Drain and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, place butternut squash, Greek yogurt, milk, chicken broth, salt, black pepper, nutmeg and cayenne in a blender and puree until smooth. (If squash is still hot, remove plastic cap from blender lid and place a kitchen towel over it so steam can escape and the hot contents don’t explode.)
  • Heat butter in a saucepan and add squash puree. Add marble jack, Gruyere and half of the Parmesan cheese and cook on medium, stirring, until cheese is melted. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
  • Coat a 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray. Add cooked pasta to the baking dish and pour in the squash/cheese sauce. Stir until combined. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Remove dish and turn oven on low broil. Top pasta with remaining Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Spray top with cooking spray. Place back in the oven and broil for 4-5 minutes, until top is browned, rotating the dish if necessary.
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle with parsley.

Notes

*You can cook the squash up to 3 days in advance. You can also use 2 10 ounce bags of frozen cubed squash; thaw and place into the blender and puree with the other sauce ingredients.

 

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