Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Total: 80 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
237 Calories
13g Fat
21g Carbs
10g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 237
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 16%
Saturated Fat 7g 34%
Cholesterol 34mg 11%
Sodium 432mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 10g
Vitamin C 4mg 19%
Calcium 214mg 16%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 200mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Does mac-and-cheese need butternut squash? Perhaps not. But it sure is good with it in there. Roasting the squash keeps it from adding too much extra liquid to the mix and deepens the sweetness it brings to the party. It's perfect for people who love butternut squash, but would like to try it in in something other than soup!

This hearty recipe works as a main dish with a salad or as a side to a more elaborate holiday meal. You can make this ahead of time all the way through step six. Keep the dish covered and chilled up to overnight before baking.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup butternut squash cubes (from 1 small butternut squash)

  • 2 teaspoons oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for the pasta water, and to taste

  • 8 ounces macaroni, or similar pasta

  • 3 tablespoons butter

  • 1/4 cup flour

  • 2 cups whole milk

  • 1 cup grated mozzarella

  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, or other aged cheese

  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, optional

  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese ingredients

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  2. Preheat an oven to 375 F and bring a large pot of water to a boil.

    water in a pot

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  3. Spread the butternut squash on a baking sheet, drizzle with the oil, and toss to coat the squash pieces. Sprinkle with the salt and roast until tender and starting to brown, about 30 minutes. Set aside, but leave the oven on.

    butternut squash on a baking sheet

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  4. Add enough salt to flavor the water, once it comes to a boil. Boil the pasta until it is still a tad underdone in the center, drain, and set aside.

    pasta in a colander

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  5. Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a pot big enough to fit all of the pasta. Whisk in the flour and cook—continuing to whisk—until the mixture smells like a pie crust (that smell means the flour is cooked), about 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon until smooth and thickened like a mac and cheese sauce. The sauce should coat the back of the spoon and, when dragging a finger through that coating, it should leave a distinct path. That texture means the sauce is properly thickened.

    butter and milk in a pot

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  6. Remove the pot from the heat, stir in 3/4 of the mozzarella and 1/2 of the Parmesan, as well as the nutmeg and cayenne, if using. Stir until the cheese is fully melted. Once the cheese is melted, add the pasta and roasted squash until everything is coated and combined. Taste and add salt or more spice, if needed.

    mac and cheese ingredients in a pot

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  7. Combine the remaining cheese and the breadcrumbs in a small bowl. Set aside.

    cheese and breadcrumbs in a bowl

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  8. Butter, grease, or oil spray a 2-quart baking dish thoroughly. Add the pasta-squash mixture. Sprinkle the cheese-breadcrumb mixture on top.

    mac and cheese with breadcrumb topping on top in a baking dish

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  9. Bake the dish until hot, bubbling into the center of the dish (not just along the edges), and well-browned on top, about 40 minutes.

    Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg