Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Reposting this recipe from November of 2014 with new, beautiful photos!

Friends… This is my very first blog as The Gourmet RD and I am fantastically excited to be sharing my food life with you!  Since we are meeting for the first time, I feel like you should know something about me.

I love food. Especially fall food.  You know, squash… cranberries… Brussels… I could seriously go on for days, but I want to put the focus down on butternut squash.  Yep.  It really is the most velvety, luxurious veggie out there {and it’s just so darn pretty}. 

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese in white skillet.

And I’m going to go ahead and throw it in one of my other favorite things:  Mac.  And.  Cheese.  Really, who doesn’t love a hearty, comforting bowl of cheesy-noodle-goodness?

But before we dig right in, I want you to know about the first time I had Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese.  It was a chilly fall day and I wanted to cook a lighter version of a classic favorite.  It seemed like an impossible journey.  How can you make mac and cheese without at least one stick of butter and a pound of cheese? 

Butternut squash pasta sauce.

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese in white dish.
Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese in white dish.
Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese in white dish.

Well, I dialed the food Gods at Cooking Light (they never disappoint), and discovered a deliciously satisfying cheese sauce made with squash.  And Greek yogurt.  I mean, how cool is that?  So I fell in love, and have made the dish over and over again, and have tweaked and twisted it to make it my own.  (I know you think I am crazy right now, but I promise this dish will please even the pickiest eaters/squash-haters out there, like my husband.)

And can we talk about cavatappi pasta? Do I even need to describe why it is so awesome?

Butternut squash mac and cheese is the superior mac and cheese.

Each little tubular noodle traps loads of sauce, meaning that each bite gives a burst of creamy, gooeyness that is pretty much, well… awesome.  And then top it off {literally} with crispy breadcrumbs and it’s just totally unfair.  Or perfect.

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese in white bowls.

Seriously, the cheese…

Print

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese in white skillet.

Creamy 3-cheese mac with a creamy butternut squash sauce tossed with cavatappi noodles.

  • Author: Julie Andrews
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 1 hr
  • Total Time: 1 hr 20 min
  • Yield: Serves 8 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Stove-Top, Baking
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 large butternut squash, about 3 pounds*
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1-pound cavatappi, uncooked
  • 3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 ½ cups nonfat milk
  • 1 ¼ cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 ½2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon each nutmeg and cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 ½ cups shredded marble jack cheese
  • ½ cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cut butternut squash in half, lengthwise, and scoop out seeds.  Place in baking dish, flesh side down, and pour water in the baking dish.  Roast in oven for 35-40 minutes, until soft.  Scoop out cooked flesh and discard skin.  Set squash flesh aside.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt.  Drain and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, place butternut squash, Greek yogurt, milk, chicken broth, salt, black pepper, nutmeg and cayenne in a blender and puree until smooth. (If squash is still hot, remove plastic cap from blender lid and place a kitchen towel over it so steam can escape and the hot contents don’t explode.)
  4. Heat butter in a saucepan and add squash puree.  Add marble jack, Gruyere and half of the Parmesan cheese and cook on medium, stirring, until cheese is melted. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
  5. Coat a 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray. Add cooked pasta to the baking dish and pour in the squash/cheese sauce.  Stir until combined.  Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove dish and turn oven on low broil.  Top pasta with remaining Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.  Spray top with cooking spray.  Place back in the oven and broil for 4-5 minutes, until top is browned, rotating the dish if necessary.
  7. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with parsley.

Notes

Cooking Tip: You can cook the squash up to 3 days in advance. You can also use 2 10 ounce bags of frozen cubed squash; thaw and place into the blender and puree with the other sauce ingredients.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/8 of recipe
  • Calories: 459
  • Sugar: 6
  • Sodium: 577
  • Fat: 18
  • Saturated Fat: 10
  • Unsaturated Fat: 8
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 56
  • Fiber: 4
  • Protein: 21
  • Cholesterol: 52

Keywords: easy, healthy, vegetable, comfort food, tasty, simple, baked

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Join the Discussion

8 thoughts on “Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese”

  1. Mmmm as my one year old would say! I think we’ll be enjoying this at our home soon! I’m so excited for your blog Julie! I’ll be stopping in constantly 🙂

  2. I love the idea of blending in the squash!! I usually add a layer of chopped butternut squash to the top of my baked mac and cheese but that is not always a huge hit with guests. I will be trying this recipe for Christmas!!

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