This Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese is a comforting meal any night of the week. It's a hearty, vegetarian meal the whole family will love! This dish can be baked in a 9x13 pan to get some extra cheesy crispness on the top, or you could serve it right out of the pot. Either way, it's delicious! Serve this dish as a side to any meal or as the full meal itself and everyone will be satisfied!
What's in this mac and cheese?
You guessed it, butternut squash! Butternut squash is a great source of fiber, Vitamins A, Vitamins C, as well as calcium, magnesium, and zinc. If you know me, you know I am always trying to get my kids to eat their vegetables. What better way than to hide a super veggie in their favorite mac and cheese??
For this recipe, I used a whole butternut squash that I roasted and then peeled and cut up. You could use a box of frozen butternut squash instead to make your life a little easier, no judgement here. I do that sometimes, but this time I had a butternut squash in my house, so I decided to use it.
Another way I upped the nutritional value of this dish is by adding whole wheat pasta. I cannot tell the difference between whole wheat pasta and regular pasta. I've been using whole wheat pasta for so long that I really do not buy regular pasta anymore. I really only buy regular pasta for things like lasagna and stuffed shells when it is really hard to find their whole wheat counterparts.
When it comes to the cheddar cheese, I think the key to a great mac and cheese is to shred the cheese yourself. It is more time consuming, but so worth it. You can get a block of cheddar at the grocery store and shred it in just a few minutes. If that's not possible, the bagged pre-shredded cheese is totally fine too!
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Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- 1 Butternut Squash
- 1 TBSP Olive Oil
- 2 TBSP Butter
- 1 Onion Chopped
- 3 TBSP Flour
- 1 cup Half and Half or Cream
- 2 cups Vegetable Broth
- 1 ½ tsp Ground Mustard
- 1 box Whole Wheat Pasta I used Penne
- 2 ½ cups Sharp Cheddar Shredded
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash the butternut squash and cut the ends off. Cut the squash lengthwise and discard all of the seeds that are on the inside by scooping them out with a spoon. Oil a baking sheet and place the squash flesh side down on the baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, until the squash is soft. Let that cool a bit so it is easy to handle.
- While the squash is baking. Fill a large pot with water and place that on the stove to boil.
- Meanwhile, in the bottom of another large saucepan, place the olive oil and the butter. Let the butter melt. Add the chopped onions and let that saute for a few minutes until the onions are translucent. Once they are translucent, add the 3 tablespoons of flour and mix that around. Cook that for 3-4 minutes until the flour just starts to cook.
- Add the vegetable broth and the half and half and lower the heat on the stove to low so you don't boil the mixture as that will cause the milk to curdle.
- When the butternut squash is cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh out of the peel with a large spoon. Use a knife to cut off some of the skin if it gets left on the squash. Place the squash into the pot with the milk mixture and let that cook for about 10 minutes.
- Salt the water for the pasta and add the box of pasta. Give that a little stir and let that cook according to the box instructions.
- To make this very silky and luxurious, I use an immersion blender on the butternut squash and milk mixture to make it super creamy. Once that is done, add the cheese and let that cook until the cheese is melted.
- When the pasta is done cooking, drain it and place it in the pot with the butternut squash sauce. Mix everything around so it is combined. You could either serve it just like this out of the pot, or you could place it in a 9x13 pan, top it with some more cheese, and bake it for about 15 minutes to allow the cheese on top to brown. Serve immediately.