Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese with a hint of sage, a healthier twist on the classic dish, but as creamy and comforting. The cheddar cheese and parmesan bring a lovely sharpness, and the butternut squash add a touch of colour and extra goodness. It's so good, no one will ever guess it's not the regular mac and cheese!
Macaroni and cheese, or heaven on a plate no matter the season - but yes, particularly nice on a cold day. There is something about the creamy cheesy sauce and the lovely soft pasta that screams perfection. I don't really like pasta with a bite, and tend to boil it for a tad longer than the packet instructions recommend, that really is the best thing you can get!
Not that the classic Easy Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe with Bread Crumbs is not beyond delicious, but if you have fussy toddlers ( or any fussy eater in general) who like to throw a tantrum about veggies, I can't recommend this butternut squash mac and cheese enough.
The butternut squash blends in so well, you can't say it's there. By adding cream and cheeses the bright orange colour pales and you can't possibly tell it's in there. All you can taste is the cheesiness of the sauce, so, if you wanted to hide any other veggies in there, that's your chance.
But kids didn't even notice any difference, and it got demolished quickly. They don't usually mind veggies in dishes, but the fact that they couldn't tell the difference from the regular macaroni and cheese says how good this is.
How to make butternut squash macaroni and cheese
Unlike my macaroni and cheese with breadcrumbs, which was baked for the final touch, this macaroni and cheese with butternut squash was made on the stove top only. You can, of course, bake it once the sauce is blended with the pasta, but if you leave it as it is, it's perfect anyway.
Start by making the butternut squash sauce:
- peel and dice the butternut squash
- melt the butter in a pan set over a medium heat, add the chopped sage, butternut squash and stock/broth, and leave to cook with the lid on until the butternut squash is tender
- add the cream, then blend it to a smooth consistency - you can either use a hand blender or transfer it to a food processor
- return the sauce to the heat, add the cheeses, and stir for 20-30 seconds to get a smooth sauce
And that's the sauce done! You can use vegetable stock/broth if you prefer a vegetarian meal, or chicken stock for a deeper flavour, it's entirely up to you. Once the macaroni is cooked and drained, pour the sauce over, and mix well. And job done!
Butternut squash is so versatile, and easy to cook. And a very popular veggie for Thanksgiving too. And since the macaroni and cheese is quite a favourite for Thanksgiving too, now imagine the success this butternut squash mac and cheese will have on the big day!
Perfect swaps for the butternut squash are sweet potatoes or pumpkin - they have similar taste and texture, and can be used exactly the same way, nothing changes when you make this dish.
As for pasta, anything goes - fusilli, penne pasta, even spaghetti - my Butternut Squash Pasta Carbonara is another example how well pasta and butternut squash can work together.
Do give this a go - I can guarantee the kids will love it, and so will everybody else! It's quick, it's cheap, it's perfection!
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Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese with a hint of sage, a healthier twist on the classic dish, but as creamy and comforting. The cheddar cheese and parmesan bring a lovely sharpness, and the butternut squash add a touch of colour and extra goodness. It's so good, no one will ever guess it's not the regular mac and cheese! Particularly good for toddlers and fussy eaters, and perfect family dinner all year around, and especially for Thanksgiving.
- 1 small butternut squash
- 2 cups macaroni
- 1 ¼ cup stock/broth or water
- 2 fresh sage leaves (or a teaspoon of dried sage)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ⅓ cup double cream (heavy cream)
- ⅔ cups grated cheddar cheese
- 2 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
To make the butternut squash sauce, peel and dice the butternut squash.
Melt the butter in a pan set over a medium heat, add the chopped sage, diced butternut squash and stock, and leave to cook with a lid on until the butternut squash is tender.
When the squash is tender, add the cream, then blend everything to a smooth consistency - either by using a hand blender or a food processor (if you like a thicker sauce you can drain some of the liquid left in the pan before adding the cream).
Return the sauce to the heat, add the cheeses and sir for 20-30 seconds to get a smooth sauce.
Cook the macaroni according to the packet instructions, drain and pour the sauce over.
Mix well so the sauce can coat the pasta.