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Black spoon stirring shell pasta with butternut squash sauce in a large pot.

Roasted Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

  • Author: Jessie
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6
  • Category: Pasta
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Easy, creamy roasted butternut squash mac and cheese recipe.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 pound pasta (I used large shells)
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2/3 cup roasted butternut squash purée (see recipe notes)
  • 6 ounces goat cheese, plus extra for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional) for garnish

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta in very salty water until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan (I use the same pot I just cooked the pasta in!) melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk together to form a roux. Let cook for about a minute until fragrant and slightly darkened in color.
  3. Add milk a little bit at a time, whisking constantly to work out any lumps. Cook until milk has thickened slightly and mixture is not quite simmering, about 5 minutes.
  4. Whisk butternut squash puree and goat cheese into sauce. Whisk until cheese is melted, then add salt and pepper to taste. Don't be shy - seasoning is important!
  5. If the sauce has any lumps of squash, blend with an immersion blender for a few moments to smooth it out.
  6. Return pasta to saucepan and stir to coat all of the noodles with the sauce.
  7. Top pasta with a few crumbles of goat cheese and a sprinkle of chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

Notes

How to roast your butternut squash. Cut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet cut-side down and roast at 375 degrees F for 45-60 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork. Let cool, then scoop squash out of its skin and puree with a food processor until smooth. See a full tutorial here. This isn't the only way to roast your squash - read the post above for a full walkthrough of several other options! You can also use canned butternut squash or canned pumpkin purée here.

Additions and Substitutions. Add crispy bacon or pancetta, Italian sausage, grilled chicken or shrimp for extra protein. Add roasted broccoli, caramelized onions, peas, spinach or kale to make it a bit heartier. Use fontina, gruyere, or white cheddar in place of (or in addition to) goat cheese. See the post above for more ideas!

This sauce is very forgiving - add extra butternut squash if you like! If sauce is too thick, thin it out with a splash of milk, cream, pasta water, or chicken stock.

For a healthy twist, swap the butter, flour, and milk in this recipe for our Magic Cauliflower Cream Sauce. You may need to add a splash of stock or pasta water to thin the sauce a bit if you go this route.

To bake this mac and cheese, cook the pasta until a few minutes less than al dente, then follow the rest of the recipe as directed. Transfer to a baking dish and top with 1/3 cup of butter-toasted breadcrumbs. Bake at 375 degrees F for 25-35 minutes until sauce is bubbling and top is lightly browned. For tips on how to perfectly bake mac and cheese, check out Mac and Cheese 101!

Keywords: vegetarian, autumn, macaroni and cheese