One of my favourite comfort foods is mac and cheese and in the fall it’s nice to add some pumpkin, or in this case butternut squash! The combination of the savoury cheese with the sweet butternut squash is simply divine! You can add the butternut squash either as a puree or as roasted cubes and this version uses puree. The recipe is pretty simple! You make a basic cheese sauce with butter, flour, milk, and plenty of cheese before mixing in the butternut squash puree and tossing with the macaroni. I like to season this dish with garlic, sage, dijon mustard and a pinch of nutmeg. The main flavour on the savoury side comes from the cheese so use a strong one! I like an aged cheddar along with parmesan but gruyere, fontina, gouda, etc. are also amazing! This butternut squash and sage mac and cheese is super easy to make and just perfect for a cool fall day!
Butternut Squash Mac n Cheese
A creamy fall mac and cheese with butternut squash puree and sage!
- 1 pound pasta (gluten-free for gluten-free)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour (rice flour for gluten-free)
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons sage, thinly sliced
- 2 cups milk (or broth)
- 2 cups cheese, shredded*
- 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan cheese), grated
- 1 pinch nutmeg (optional)
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard (optional)
- 2 cups butternut squash puree (or pumpkin puree)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Start cooking the pasta as directed on the package.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook until it starts to turn a light golden brown, about 2 minutes.
- Sprinkling in the flour, mix in the garlic and sage and cook, mixing, until it turns a light golden brown, about 2 minutes.
- Add the milk, bring to a simmer, mixing, and cook until it thickens, about 5 minutes.
- Reduce the heat, add the cheese and let it melt into the sauce.
- Mix in the nutmeg, mustard, and butternut squash puree before seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
- Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking water.
- Mix the pasta into the sauce, optionally adding some of the reserved cooking water to thin the sauce out, if desired.
Option: Add 4 ounces cream cheese in addition to the shredded cheese!
Option: Top with a crispy breadcrumb topping! (Melt 1/4 cup butt in a pan, add 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs, mix and cook until lightly golden brown before sprinkling over the mac and cheese!
Option: Garnish with crispy butter fried sage!
Option: Garnish with bacon, or pancetta, or sausage, or shredded pepperoni! (Fried until crispy!)
Option: Garnish with sauteed mushrooms!
Option: Garnish with pepitas!
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