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Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese in gratin dish

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Butternut squash mac and cheese is like classic mac and cheese, but with a fall twist.  It's a delicious way to get extra veggies into your meals!
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Ingredients

Butternut squash puree:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small butternut squash or use 1 package cubed butternut squash, or canned puree*

Mac and cheese:

  • 8 ounces whole wheat elbow macaroni or your favorite pasta
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk I used low fat
  • 2 cups grated mild cheddar cheese* divided
  • 1/2 cup butternut squash puree (may also use canned puree)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs

Instructions 

Roast the butternut squash:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place a sheet of aluminum foil on a large rimmed baking sheet. Cut the top and bottom off of the butternut squash, then stand the squash upright on a cutting board. Cut in half from the top down, then scoop out the seeds.  Brush with the olive oil, some salt and pepper, and place cut side down on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Roast for 30-45 minutes or until tender.
  • When cool enough to handle, remove the peel from the squash and place the flesh in the bowl of a food processor, pureeing in two batches if necessary. Process until smooth and set aside.

Prepare the mac and cheese:

  • Cook the elbow macaroni according to package instructions, then drain.
  • While the pasta cooks, heat the butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Once melted, sprinkle in the flour and whisk constantly until it's golden brown and bubbly and smells like shortbread, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add about 1/3 of the milk in a slow steady stream while whisking constantly until the mixture resembles a smooth paste. Whisk in the remaining milk until smooth, and place back over medium heat. Whisk the mixture constantly to prevent burning, and cook until thickened and boiling, about 5-10 minutes longer.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the 1 1/2 cups of cheese and butternut squash puree. Add salt and pepper to taste, then add the pasta and stir until combined.
  • Place in a greased 8x8" casserole dish and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.
  • Bake until bubbly and golden brown, about 20-30 minutes. If the top browns too quickly, cover with foil greased with cooking spray to prevent sticking. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

  • I've found canned butternut squash puree at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's stores.
  • I used mild cheddar cheese because that's what I had on hand, but fontina, gruyere, white cheddar and many other cheeses would also work well in this recipe.
  • If baking in gratin dishes as shown in the photos here, baking time is only 15 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

Nutrition

Calories: 549kcal, Carbohydrates: 65g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 57mg, Sodium: 494mg, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 3g

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

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