All people enjoy a creamy and cheesy bowl of mac and cheese. It’s the epitome of comfort food a dish that evokes feelings of cozy home evenings and early childhood. However, what if we told you there was a way to improve this traditional dish even more? Here’s a tasty twist on the classic dish that gives it a pop of color and a hint of sweetness butternut squash mac and cheese.
What Makes Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese Special?
Butternut squash is the secret ingredient that takes this mac and cheese from ordinary to extraordinary. Not only does it add a subtle sweetness to the dish, but it also brings a wealth of nutrients to the table. Packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, butternut squash adds a healthy boost to this indulgent comfort food.
Prepare the Ingredients
Gather your ingredient sbutternut squash, elbow macaroni, cheese (cheddar and Parmesan work great), milk, butter, flour, breadcrumbs, and seasonings like nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
Cook the Butternut Squash
Peel and dice the butternut squash, then steam or roast until tender. Once cooked, mash or puree the squash until smooth.
Cook the Pasta
In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the elbow macaroni according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
Make the Cheese Sauce
In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour to create a roux, then gradually whisk in milk until smooth and thickened. Add shredded cheddar cheese, stirring until melted and creamy. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste.
Combine the Ingredients
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked macaroni with the butternut squash puree and cheese sauce. Mix until well combined and creamy.
Bake to Perfection
Transfer the mac and cheese mixture to a greased baking dish. Top with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs for added crunch. Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F for 20-25 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown on top.
Enjoy the Comforting Goodness!
Once out of the oven, let the butternut squash mac and cheese cool for a few minutes before serving. Then, dig in and savor the creamy, cheesy goodness with a hint of sweetness from the butternut squash. It’s the perfect comfort food for cozy nights in or family gatherings.
A delicious take on a classic dish, butternut squash mac and cheese offers a more flavorful, healthier option without sacrificing flavor. It will quickly become a new favorite recipe in your collection thanks to its creamy texture, cheesy goodness, and delicate sweetness.
Can I use pre-cut butternut squash?
Absolutely! Using pre-cut butternut squash can save you time in the kitchen without sacrificing flavor.
Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
Yes, you can assemble the mac and cheese ahead of time and refrigerate it until ready to bake. Just add a few extra minutes to the baking time if baking from cold.
Can I freeze leftovers?
While it’s best enjoyed fresh, you can freeze leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
What variations can I try?
Feel free to experiment with different cheeses or add-ins like crispy bacon, sautéed spinach, or caramelized onions for extra flavor.
Is this recipe kid-friendly?
Absolutely! Kids love the creamy, cheesy taste of this mac and cheese, and the added butternut squash sneaks in some extra veggies without them even noticing.