Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
Mac and Cheese recipes are untouchable! Once you have a good one, you make it again and again and you start holding up the reputation as the one who makes the Mac and Cheese at family gatherings and Thanksgiving. I make a simple Mac and Cheese recipe that is truly untouchable by my kids’ standards because it has just the right amount of butter, cheese and milk for their taste. But for the grown-up parties and the grown-up palettes (especially during during the fall), it’s show time for this butternut squash mac and cheese.
This idea of using butternut squash to mimic cheese broke the foodie scene a few years ago. There were lots of skeptics, lots of nay-sayers, but the taste and texture just won so many people over, including me!
There are many ways to make this:
- Boil frozen butternut squash with milk/broth and blend.
- Roast fresh butternut squash in the oven then, blend with milk/broth.
- Saute fresh butternut squash with onions and olive oil like I did and then blend it with broth and milk in the skillet.
I’ve tried all three methods and numero 3 is my fave. Once you puree everything, there’s a beautiful rich cheesy color that can totally (rightfully so) be mistaken for cheese! I do still add some shredded cheese in the end, but less than a cup. It just helps to unify all the ingredients together and truly deliver that cheese flavor. Think of it like this…cheese is like the glue that holds this recipe together! But you’ll save so many calories by not having cheese as the main ingredient!
Make it for Thanksgiving. Make it for your kids’ lunches. Just make it!
How to Make Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese (1 min.)
- 12 oz cavatappi pasta (or elbow macaroni)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 tsp mustard powder
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 3-4 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 lb)
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3/4 cup shredded gruyere cheese (or any shredded cheese)
- Chopped parsley, for serving
- Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain, set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium low heat. Add the onions and saute until the onions are translucent, then add the butternut squash, minced garlic and mustard powder and saute for a few more minutes.
- Add the vegetable broth and milk to the skillet, bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes or until squash is fork tender.
- Blend all the ingredients using a hand immersion blender until sauce is smooth and creamy.
- Add the cooked pasta to the pureed sauce, sprinkle the cheese, then stir to combine. Stir in extra milk if you'd like to adjust the consistency.
- Sprinkle with chopped parsley, if desired.