Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese makes a terrific dish during the winter months. Every now and then we crave a dish of mac and cheese, and this one is healthier and positively delicious. It contains 2 kinds of cheeses, one pound of butternut squash, and it’s made on stove-top! The butternut squash is completely melted and hidden in this mac and cheese making it smooth and creamy.
I think you will all agree when I say mac and cheese = comfort food!
With this recipe, you will need 4 cups of cubed butternut squash.
Butternut squash is winter squash. It is considered part of the pumpkin family, with a similar sweet and nutty taste to it, only this squash has a very light-colored skin, almost pinkish or tan color, but with a deep orange pulp and flesh inside.
Loaded with nutrients like all other squashes, butternut can be cooked in so many ways.
We have made delicious recipes using it, including our creamy butternut squash soup, butternut squash risotto, along with a few different side dishes and healthy casseroles.
Here’s A Kitchen Tip: Some supermarkets will sell butternut squash already chopped and cubed, and that saves a huge amount of time in prep work!
Ingredients and Notes for Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese:
To make this butternut squash mac and cheese, you will need:
1. Butternut Squash: 1 small butternut squash, about 1 pound, or 4 cups of diced or cubed.
2. Fresh Herbs: use only fresh sage, about 8 leaves to flavor the sauce. Fresh sage gives a lovely, subtle flavor to this mac and cheese. If you don’t like sage, you may use different herbs like basil, rosemary, or thyme for flavoring.
3. Kinds of Cheese: 2 kinds of cheeses, 8-ounces of sharp cheddar cheese grated, and 3 to 4 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese. I prefer to grate a block of cheddar, at least 75% of it, and then I finely chop the rest. Freshly grated cheddar melts instantly and tastes better than the already grated and packaged cheese.
4. Vegetables: one small onion and 2 garlic cloves are sauteed with the butternut squash.
5. Olive Oil: just enough to saute the vegetables.
6. Liquids: water, vegetable broth, and skim milk are needed to make the sauce. Don’t worry, if you don’t have any vegetable broth, you can use more water in its place when simmering the butternut squash.
7. Seasonings: salt, black pepper, and a dash of nutmeg are all you need.
8. Pasta: I used semolina mini fusilli pasta, but you can use any small pasta.
Directions for Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese:
First, use a large pot to make the sauce. Heat olive oil and saute the garlic and onion until softened. Toss in sage leaves and simmer on low heat sauteing for about 2 minutes. With a fork, fish and remove the sage leaves, discard them.
NEXT, toss in butternut squash and saute for one minute. Pour in the water along with vegetable broth and add the salt. Cover with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes. Butternut squash will be softened. Turn off heat.
Pour in the milk, and use an immersion hand-held blender to puree the mixture. Or you can puree the mixture in your blender, doing it only in small batches and with a kitchen towel held on top of the blender while you pulse a few times.
Add both kinds of cheese to the pureed mixture, and stir until the cheeses completely melt. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings with salt and black pepper, if needed.
Meanwhile, in a second large pot filled with water, add 2 teaspoons of salt; bring to a boil, and toss in the fusilli pasta. Cook the pasta until al-dente. The pasta must be tender to the bite. Use a large slotted spoon to scoop up the pasta and transfer it to the creamy cheese sauce. Continue until all the pasta has been transferred.
Stir the pasta, until it slowly absorbs the sauce. The sauce will appear to be on the watery side, but will slowly thicken as the pasta absorbs and the mixture cools down a little.
What Kind of Pasta do we use for Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese?
Our butternut squash mac and cheese is made with mini Italian semolina fusilli pasta (aka rotini pasta). Small curly pasta like fusilli cooks up quickly, and it absorbs and holds this luscious creamy sauce very nicely.
With that said, keep in mind you can use a variety of small kinds of pasta with this recipe, such as shells, mezzi rigatoni, elbows, and even mini penne pasta. Make sure the pasta is al-dente since it will continue to cook as it mixes with the sauce.
Do not use egg noodles. They will not work because they will get mushy and not hold up very well with the sauce.
Your family will love our butternut squash mac and cheese.
This is a delicious dish! The flavors in this mac and cheese recipe are what make it so worthy to go the extra effort to make it! It freezes well and reheats beautifully too!
An easy stove-top recipe that is ready in less than 30 minutes, makes this a great meal and a tastier version for mac and cheese; what’s not to LOVE!
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You might also enjoy our Macaroni and Cheese with Pancetta and Caramelized Onions! It’s an easy and delicious mac and cheese with smoky flavors.
Also, our Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower, it too is a stove-top dish made quick and easy. Best of all, the cauliflower is completely melted and hidden in this dish.
And our Easy Pimento Mac and Cheese!