Butternut Squash Mac And Cheese
Butternut Squash Mac And Cheese – Savory and sweet butternut squash takes a Southern favorite comfort food to the next level.
Sweet cubes of harvest-orange butternut squash are roasted until tender, then blended with chicken broth into a creamy puree that makes a thick and rich Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese without the fuss of a making a white sauce.
Butternut squash mac and cheese makes a great side dish for weeknight meals or even special holiday ones.
Butternut Squash Mac And Cheese
Step 1. Roast Butternut Squash
Cut the squash into cubes, and toss with oil, salt, and pepper. Roast until tender (about 30 minutes).
Let cool a bit.
Step 2. Puree Squash
Put the cooled squash in a blender with broth and process until smooth.
Step 3. Make Sauce
In a saucepan, warm milk and butter, then stir in the butternut squash puree, salt, and pepper.
Step 4. Add Cheeses
Remove squash mixture from stove, add cheeses, and stir until melted.
Then add the pasta, and stir until fully coated.
Step 5. Bake Mac and Cheese
Pour the mac and cheese into a baking dish coated with cooking spray.
Top with remaining cheeses, then bake until the cheese is melted and the top is golden brown (about 25 minutes).
Garnish with thyme leaves.
Butternut Squash Mac And Cheese Key Ingredients
Butternut Squash: Some grocery stores sell these squash already halved or even cubed.
Olive Oil: To coat the squash before roasting it.
Salt and Pepper: To season the squash.
Chicken broth: We prefer a lower-sodium version so you can control the final dish’s salt level.
Whole Milk and Butter: Makes the sauce for the mac and cheese rich.
Extra-Sharp Cheddar: This cheese has enough flavor to balance the subtle sweetness of the butternut squash.
Fontina: This adds a nuttiness and saltiness.
Elbow Macaroni: The classic mac and cheese pasta, but you could use any short noodle you have.
Thyme leaves: A bit of freshness to garnish.
Cooking Spray: To coat the baking dish so the pasta won’t stick.
Butternut Squash Mac And Cheese Specific Ingredients
1 (16-oz.) pkg. uncooked elbow macaroni
1 medium-size (2 1/2-lb.) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-in. pieces (about 6 cups)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
3/4 tsp. black pepper, divided
1 1/4 cups lower-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter
10 oz. extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 1/2 cups) and divided
4 oz. fontina cheese, shredded (about 1 cup) and divided
1 spray , about 1/3 second cooking spray
Fresh thyme leaves
How To Prep Butternut Squash
All you need is a good vegetable peeler and a sharp knife, then you’re ready to begin.
Step 1. Peel the Squash
Starting at the stem end, peel the squash with a Y-shaped vegetable peeler (they’re easier on your hands and require less strength).
Peel the squash until the orange flesh begins to show—the skin is thick, so it may take more than one swipe with the peeler.
Step 2. Halve the Squash
Using a large, sharp knife, cut the stem and base ends from the squash, and toss them in the trash or better yet, the compost bin.
Set the squash up right on its now flat base, then carefully cut downward to slice the squash in half.
Use a spoon to scoop out the stringy pulp and seeds.
FYI, you can roast the seeds just like pumpkin seeds for a nice snack or garnish.
Step 3. Slice the Squash
Once you’ve got all the seeds and squash guts out of the way, it’s time to slice.
It’s easiest to cut the solid neck away and cut it into cubes, then tackle the round bulb end, which is less uniform in shape.
There’s no way to be exact, so just cut the squash into similarly sized pieces so they’ll cook evenly.