Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese Sauce
- ½ large butternut squash seeded and chopped into fourths (yields ~3 cups butternut squash puree)
- ¾ teaspoon salt separated
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil separated
- ½ large white onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic peeled
- 1 cup 2% milk
- 2 cups pasta water depending on how much you need
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to 400ºF and spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
Combine 1/2 teaspoon salt, cayenne pepper, and pepper into a small bowl. Set aside.
Place the butternut squash on the baking sheet and drizzle the butternut squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with the spices. Rub the olive oil and spices into the butternut squash. Then, move the squash to one side of th baking sheet.
Place the white onion and the garlic cloves on the other side of the baking sheet. Drizzle with the other tablespoon of olive oil and the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt.
Place the baking sheet into the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Then, remove the garlic and onions so that they do not burn and flip the butternut squash over. Roast for another 20-30 minutes or until the butternut squash is fork-tender.
Prepare the pasta while the butternut squash is baking. Add the broth, water, sage leaves, salt, and cloves to a large pot. Bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until just a little under al dente (it will continue to cook in the oven).
Remove 2 cups of the pasta water (discarding the sage leaves) from the pot and set aside. Then, strain the pasta from the water and rinse the noodles with cold water. Set aside.
Prepare the breadcrumb topping. Heat a small skillet pan over medium heat and add all of the bread crumb topping ingredients to the skillet and mix the ingredients together. Toast the bread crumbs until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Remove the butternut squash from the oven when it is fork tender. Use a spoon to carefully peel the skin off the butternut squash (it should come off easily).
Place the butternut squash, onion, garlic, and 1 cup of the pasta water into a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Add the cheddar cheese to the blender and blend until melted and combined. Next, add the Italian cheese blend to the blender and blend until smooth and melted. Finally, add the 2% milk to the blender and blend until thick and creamy. If your sauce is too thick, you can add more pasta water by the tablespoon.
Turn the oven to broil and spray a 9×13-inch casserole dish with cooking spray.
Add the noodles to the casserole dish and pour the butternut squash cheese sauce over the noodles and mix until combined. Sprinkle the bread crumb topping over the pasta. You can use all of it or as much as you would like. Place the casserole dish into the oven.
Broil the mac and cheese until the top is golden brown (2-3 minutes).
Remove from the oven and garnish with freshly chopped sage leaves.
Tips & Notes
- You remove the onions halfway through the cook time to be sure the onions don’t burn.
- If your sauce is too thick, you can add more pasta water by the tablespoon.
Calories: 445kcal Carbohydrates: 55g Protein: 20g Fat: 18g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 8g