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Butternut squash mac and cheese in a pot with a white serving spoon.
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5 from 1 vote

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese is a comfort food favorite with an infusion of sweet, buttery squash! Pasta is drenched in a creamy and delicious butternut cheese sauce and topped with bacon crumbles. 
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 583kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 lb mezzi rigatoni pasta or other short pasta
  • 4 strips bacon plus grease from cooking
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 8 sage leaves
  • 2 tablespoons garlic paste
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose-flour
  • 1 lb cubed butternut squash
  • 2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon mustard powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper more to taste

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions for al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
  • Meanwhile, in a large deep skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until fully cooked, about 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and leave the bacon grease in the pan.
  • Reduce heat to medium and add the butter and sage leaves to the pan with the bacon grease and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Discard the sage leaves and add in the garlic paste and cook for 1 minute, stirring continuously so you don't burn the garlic.
  • Add in the flour and cook for 1 minute until the mixture has thickened, stirring frequently.
  • Add in the butternut squash, chicken broth, milk, heavy cream, mustard powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper and cook until the mixture reaches a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the skillet and continue to cook for 10 to 12 minutes until the butternut squash is tender, stirring occasionally.
  • Use an immersion blender to blend the mixture right in the pan OR you can very carefully transfer the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Once blended, add in the cheddar and Parmesan cheeses and stir until melted, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Add the cooked and drained pasta and the butternut cheese sauce into a large pot and stir to combine.
  • Chop the bacon into small pieces and stir into the pasta and serve immediately.

Notes

  • To make this dish vegetarian, use vegetable broth and omit the bacon. Increase the butter to 4 tablespoons to make up for the loss of the bacon grease.
  • Half and half may be used in place of the milk and heavy cream.
  • Sage can be added back in after cooking if desired. 
  • Use reserved pasta water to loosen up the sauce if desired.
  • To Freeze: Place the mixture in a freezer-safe casserole dish and cover tightly with foil. When you’re ready to eat, thaw it in the fridge and bake in the oven until warm. You can also just freeze the sauce in a freezer bag after cooling.

Nutrition

Calories: 583kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 93mg | Sodium: 910mg | Potassium: 506mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 6933IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 381mg | Iron: 2mg