Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Total Time:
20 min
5 min
15 min

5 servings (Boo counted for 2)

  • 1 pound macaroni with lines, such as tubatini or mini penne rigate
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus a few sprigs for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 (10 ounce) box frozen cooked butter nut squash, defrosted
  • 1 cup cream or half-and-half
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) sharp Cheddar, grated
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a couple of handfuls
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, eyeball it
  • Black pepper

Heat a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Salt the water then add the pasta and cook to al dente or, with a bite to it.

While pasta cooks, heat a medium heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the extra-virgin olive oil and butter. When the butter melts into the oil, add the thyme and grate the onion directly into the pot with a hand held grater or Microplane. Cook the grated onion in butter and oil 1 to 2 minutes, then add flour and cook together 1 to 2 more minutes. Whisk in stock, then combine with butternut squash until warmed through and smooth. Stir in cream or half-and-half and bring sauce to a bubble. Stir in cheeses in a figure 8 motion and season the completed sauce with salt, nutmeg and pepper. Taste to adjust seasonings.

Drain cooked pasta well and combine with sauce. Serve alongside chicken sammies and top with thyme leaves picked from remaining sprigs (Boo would also have a little extra sprinkle of that cheese, please!)

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    88 Reviews
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    I have made this twice now and it is wonderful!!! Really no need to change it! The cheese sauce is thick and creamy and totally fools you that there is squash present!! Great way to sneak vegetables in!!
    not bed
    Used this recipe with slight changes like 1/2 almond milk, 1/2 Oikos Greek Yogurt and it turned out awesome! Also, I baked it for 15 minutes with cheese and bread crumbs on top. Delish! Wondering about nutritional facts though?
    This is so yummy! The changes I made were to use about 1/2 tsp ground thyme instead of fresh, used 2% milk, added 1 tsp of minced garlic with the onion, and I pureed the squash before adding it to the sauce. I have used cheddar and Monterrey jack cheeses with great results. My husband raves about this and asks for it every fall. It is definitely not as thick as a baked mac n cheese so don't expect it to be that way. I roast fresh squash at 400 degrees for 25 minutes instead of using frozen.
    This was ok... not anything super good and tastes pretty similar to stuffing due to the spices.
    hate recipes that do not use fresh ingredients
    The only thing in this recipe that isn't "fresh" is the squash, which you could easily sub for fresh if you're willing to put the extra effort in.  
    However, frozen produce is actually said to be better for you because they're frozen at the peak of freshness, thus have more nutrients.
    Use vegetable broth and you have an option for vegetarians! WE ARE PEOPLE TOO!
    Way too watery and not enough cheese flavor or butternut squash flavor. This recipe is so bad, they should remove it from the website. Don't waste your time making it. I had to finish it in the oven to make it a little bit more "solid". It ending up taking almost 2 hours to make this dish.
    I have made this recipe at least a dozen times, and I have not once encountered any of these issues; you must be doing something wrong. I make this all of the time and it takes less than 30 minutes, always comes out creamy and cheesy, every time!
    I agree with Maria. The recipe is fantastic everytime that I make it. It has never taken longer than 30 minutes. Sometimes, I finish it in the oven with bread crumbs on top for another 10-15 minutes.
    I was hoping for great taste with this one because I love butternut squash. I found it to be very bland - we had to add quite a bit of seasoning to the final dish. Also, 2 cups of cheese does not give enough cheesy flavor to one pound of pasta.
    I wanted to be more impressed than I was. I had to add cornstarch to thicken the sauce and I pit in an extra 1/2 cup of squash. Its average and interesting
    Delicious! I used squash I steam-baked myself, then mashed into the recipe. My husband was surprised how yummy it was!! Totally worth making again :
    I have been making this recipe for years. It's the best way to sneak veggies into meals for picky eaters. I use 1% milk instead of cream & I add garlic when I cook up the onions. I am pleased with the way this dish looks like the boxed mac & cheese.
    This recipe is to die for! I've made it three times already and each time it's been delicious and creamy! At first I was a bit worried because I wasn't sure about the butternut squash & cheese combo would be good, but oh it was worth it!The butternut squash taste is undetectable, which is perfect for picky eaters!
     A few notes:
     Only make half the recipe. The full recipe is better suited for two pounds of pasta, not one. It makes so a lot of sauce!
     Birds eye makes a microwaveable butternut squash. Just cut the box in half, put one half in the bowl (if halving recipe, and microwave for 2-3 minutes. I've used it each time I made this recipe.
     Also, don't be afraid to omit the thyme; my boyfriend hates thyme, so I just didn't add it and it was still just as amazing.
     This recipe is definitely a must. My boyfriend's mom loved it so much that she asked me to make it for Thanksgiving. I'd definitely reccommend it.
    Creamy, rich, tasty, and more nutrition than the usual mac and cheese! I made a few changes....when I could not find frozen squash I went to the produce section. The butternut squash were huge, so I picked up a green acorn squash. Roasted and pureed, it was exactly 10 oz. I had skim milk on hand and used that instead of cream. I used 12 oz. of extra sharp cheddar cheese, a nub of monteray jack that I wanted to use up. No nutmeg....but instead 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. dry mustard, 1/2 tsp. black pepper. I did not add parmesan to the sauce but topped the dish with a sprinkle of shredded parmesan, cheddar, and 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs mixed with 1Tablespoon melted butter. Popped it into the oven at 350 for 15 minutes to brown the crumbs and melt the cheese. I split the recipe in half and froze one casserole while serving the other. This is a keeper. My family loves baked mac and cheese--and this is almost guiltless!
    Well my family told me this is one they want again. Like many others, I cubed and roasted my squash (400 degrees for 30 min. I used whole wheat pasta (14.5 oz. and only used one can of low fat/sodium broth. I also added panko crumbs and crumbled turkey bacon on top and baked for 25 min at 375. Great way to get healthy squash into an otherwise pretty unhealthy recipe.
    i made this as a main course meal and added sausage to it, i also used a can of lite coconut milk instead of cream, i do the same thing when make butternut soup. its kinda bland but the squash should slip by my family with out notice.i also roasted my own squash and it did make a ton!!
    I roasted my own butternut squash with some honey, and the recipe turned out great!
    Fantastic recipe. Tasty and takes the guilt out of mac n cheese. Even better the second day. Throw some crunchy onions on top for some added texture.
    I agree with other reviewers that the portion is big. I used a home baked butternut squash instead of a frozen one and still the recipe turned out quite bland. Just thought a healthier version of mac and cheese deserves a try : but definitely not a keeper.
    Surprisingly tastey!! It was a perfect meal to sneak in veggies for my two toddlers...however, I kept stealing bites! FYI, I used Ina Garten's recipe for butternut squash.
    Delish. First off, this makes a HUGE portion. I would half it for a small family. I also added some garlic to the onions as well as some maple syrup to finish it off. We can't eat enough of it!
    I tried this for the first time today and all I can say is no more boxed mac and cheese for us. I am a visual learner so being able to watch a video that was under 5 minutes long and actually see how to mix everything together was great for me. I watched the video several times before I started to make this dish and played it while I was making it as a handy step by step tool. Thanks Rachael!
    I love it, but my 19-month-old ADORES this dish!! This is good and creamy and the thyme is really nice, even using dried thyme. I used some leftover squash that I roasted up for hiding in my son's food - now I have extra in the freezer to make this again!
    I made this tonight and everyone loved it!! Couldn't believe that mac and cheese could taste so good and have healthy ingredients! Didn't use cream, used skim milk and 1/2 the butter. Turned out delicious!! Will make it again!!
    My family loved it. My one year old couldn't stop eating!! I used some fresh butternut squash I had on hand. I'm not sure if that makes a difference, but it was delicious!
    WOW, how delicious can macaroni and cheese get. I have tried various home made recipes, but this one is the best by far....it's a keeper. I followed the recipe exactly as Rachel says the only thing I addede was a little bit of garlic powder and dry mustard. YUM YUM...
    I'm on a squash kick, and I can never turn down mac and cheese, so I figured this would be a whole-in-one. Not true. The onion is what really threw me off - the only reason I can see for including it is to sneak vegetables into a dish kids are likely to accept. I used exactly the amount called for in the recipe, but it completely overpowered the dish. All I could taste was strong, raw onion, because even the cooking method didn't do much for it. It didn't get any of that delicious browned flavor that I love in my onions.
     Bottom line, If I had taken the time to really analyze the recipe, I wouldn't have followed it word for word. I would have thrown out the onion entirely, and gotten fresh butternut squash instead of the frozen cooked stuff (which, at my grocery store, didn't even have an assigned variety - it was just "squash") and roasted it before pureeing for even more flavor. Oh, and I would have added more cheese and taken down the amount of stock. The sauce turned out too thin for my taste.
    My family loved this recipe (and they don't know about the butternut squash) ! Now a family favorite. We have tried other Food Network mac and cheese recipes but this is how they like it...not too dry and not too thick. I used low fat milk instead of the cream and added crumbled bacon on top. Quick and easy. Thanks
    This was a delicious variation of Mac & Cheese. I used fresh butternut squash
     and added white wine to the sauce while I cooked the butternut squash in the stock. I also put bread crumbs on the top and baked the dish for 15 minutes covered, then 10 minutes uncovered. I forgot to use the cream (oops!) in the end because the sauce looked so rich, but I don't think the dish needed it. We had friends over for this dish and the meat lovers enjoyed it as much as the vegetarians did. Thanks so much!
    A great change on a classic mac and cheese. The squash gives it a hearty more bold tasty twist
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