Roasted Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Feb 22, 2012 62 Comments

Traveling hindered me from posting a gluttonous recipe last week, but we’re back on schedule this week with a healthier alternative of that old favorite Mac & Cheese.  As with any mac & cheese recipe this one couldn’t be simpler: prepare a few items, toss em all in a pot, and stir.  However, it’s the subtle nuances of herbs, the slight amount of heat from cayenne, and the combination of Montegrappa cheese* and roasted butternut squash that sets this mac & cheese recipe apart anything out of a box.

Of course any mac & cheese recipe can be easily adjusted to the ingredients available to you, but subbing in a different cheese, type of pasta, and/or the use of crème fraiche just wouldn’t be any fun…now would it?

*As always many thanks to my local cheese guru Andy Fitzgerrell for his recommendation of the Montegrappa cheese, an aged cow’s milk cheese from Italy.  Not surprisingly the cheese was outstanding on its own and in the dish. 

The Necessities:

  • 1 1/2 cup of butternut squash (around one squash)
  • 8 0z Cavatappi or your preferred pasta
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp of nutmeg
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 1 tsp fresh sage
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary
  • 4-6 oz of Montegrappa or your preferred cheese
  • 1 tbsp creme fraiche
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Slice your butternut squash in half, clean out any leftover guts, place on a cookie sheet and then in the oven.  Cook until the squash passes the soft poke test with a fork and is slightly browned. Set aside and allow to cool.

  • Shred up 4 oz of the Montegrappa cheese for the wary or 6 oz for the bold.

  • Finely dice (or something like that) your fresh herbs.

  • Scoop the squash out of its shell into a bowl. Using a immersion blender or food processor, puree the squash.

  • In a pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until slightly under cooked.

  • Toss the butter and flour into a large pot over medium heat.  Whisk the ingredients until combined.

  • Stir in the milk, then add the herbs and spices.

  • Stir in the cheese and creme fraiche until thoroughly mixed.

  • Stir in the pureed squash to make one orangish cheesy gooey mixture.

  • Time for the pasta, so toss em in.

  • Add salt and pepper to taste.

  • Forgoing the rosemary garnish, plate, serve, and enjoy a second helping.

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62 Responses to “Roasted Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese”

  1. Tina@flourtrader says:

    i am sure that the special cheese you used in here really made this an outstanding dish. Also, the butternut squash is a pretty creative move, I have never had it in this type of dish before. Now I am so craving this-great post!

  2. thecompletecookbook says:

    Now this is my kind of Mac and Cheese – scrumptious recipe!
    :-) Mandy

  3. Eva Taylor says:

    I love the idea of stretching out the cheese parts with the butternut squash Jed, really clever. I also love the use of the Cavatappi pasta which has more groves than traditional macaroni to catch all the deliciousness of the ‘cheese’ sauce. Using a slightly sharper cheese also allows you to use less. This is a great make-over of a reasonably unhealthy dish. You’ve enhanced the base flavours by adding the splurging ingredients in small amounts — very nice. I shall definitely be bookmarking.

  4. ChgoJohn says:

    You’ve hit a home run with this dish, Jed. Most “new” mac & cheese recipes rely on adding more and more types of cheese. Your adding the squash is a very nice touch. I’ll be making this, once I get out to the biig Italian market so that I can get that cheese.

  5. ceciliag says:

    That must have been a divine lunch and the scent once the cheese warmed ! Luxurious~ c

  6. Karen says:

    Eating your veggies and mac and cheese! I’m sure it was really delicious…I like the addition of the sage and rosemary.

  7. spicegirlfla says:

    This is love in every bite!! Now with the squash added in, I will feel a bit less guilty eating a big bowl….after all I’m getting some veggies and beautiful herbs mixed in!! Winning recipe here Jed!!

  8. zestybeandog says:

    This looks amazing! I have never seen or thought of doing something like this! What a brilliant idea! Yummmmm :)

  9. sprint2thetable says:

    Montegrappa cheese sounds incredible. I can’t believe I never came across it in Italy. Does it have grappa in it?! I came back with almost as much grappa as I did wine – fell in love with the stuff!

    Great-looking recipe. You could even sprinkle some chia seeds on it. 😉

  10. Judy@Savoring Today says:

    I LOVE the addition of the butternut squash! This recipe sounds really delicious, especially the type of cheese you chose — YUM!

  11. amy @ fearless homemaker says:

    holy moly, this looks awesome. love the twist of adding roasted butternut squash. + i really like your choice of using cavatappi instead of the traditional elbow macaroni – that’s my go-to for lots of mac + cheese dishes, too. nicely done!

  12. Eri says:

    Such an interesting twist on Mac and Cheese! your picture is lovely, I will definitely going to make it!

  13. Caroline says:

    Dear Jed, I’m not allowed to crave mac & cheese at 10 a.m.!! But I sure am craving it right now. This seriously sounds/looks delicious. Cavatappi is one of my favorites, particularly when used for mac & cheese.

  14. Courtney says:

    I’m definitely going to have to go out and try some montegrappa cheese. And I love the idea of using some butternut squash in your mac (makes me feel like it would be at least partly healthy then). I wonder if the kids would notice the difference…

    • sportsglutton says:

      If you were to put the 5-6oz of cheese in the recipe I doubt the kids would realize the squash was in there….its completely subtle. Hope you’re able to “fool” them. 😉

  15. Joanne Ozug says:

    This is absolutely genius, I’m so impressed Jed. What a great new way to eat butternut squash and macncheese!

  16. Geni - Sweet and Crumby says:

    What’s not to love in this dish? I have been wanting to try a butternut squash mac n’ cheese, and adding that montegrappa cheese definitely looks like the right call. Heavenly! I may have to go see our cheese purveyor…

    • sportsglutton says:

      Thanks Geni. I’m very fortunate to have two friends who are trusted experts in the cheese industry. Always happy to pass along their information to fellow foodies.

  17. bitsandbreadcrumbs says:

    Yum, yum, yum. I’ve heard of butternut squash and mac and cheese, but never been tempted to try it until now. Yours sounds perfect and makes me want a nice comforting bowl of it right now! And how could you possibly feel guilty about eating this fine dish…wonderful post.

  18. rsmacaalay says:

    That will definitely give it more flavour specially roasting the butternut.

  19. hotlyspiced says:

    This is definitely great comfort food. My son (7) was with me in the supermarket today and he was wanting me to buy ‘Easy Mac’ because he loves macaroni and cheese. But I wouldn’t buy it because of all the chemicals and additives and promised I would make it tomorrow night – I might just have to ‘borrow’ your recipe! xx

  20. Sissi says:

    I have never tasted Mac & cheese, but from all teh recipes I have seen on blogs yours is by far the most complex and probably the most appealing. A great way to enjoy the last moments of this cold months” vegetable.

  21. Jereme's Kitchen says:

    I’m all for a healthier mac & cheese. . . but if there was a way to make it less healthy. . . . .

  22. Mary says:

    This looks fantastic. I’ve had a squash mac ‘n cheese on my list to try for a while now. Your version sounds delicious. How strong was the cheese?

    P.S. Cavatappi is my fave. Love it!

  23. Liz says:

    Oh, I love the addition of herbs and squash…a delicious, adult mac and cheese….mmmmmmmmm.

  24. The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time says:

    My brain kind of froze up on that little word ‘grappa’ tacked on the end of the cheese’s name. The only time I’ve had all the hair burned out of my nostrils was when I tried grappa in Italy. You’re right about it being firewater.

    The use of it in mac and cheese is apparently genius though because that dish looks amazing.

  25. Bluejellybeans says:

    Wow!
    That looks soooo goood 😉 you are a genius!

  26. Chica Andaluza says:

    That looks amazing and I can only imagine all those gorgeous cheesy flavours. You did save me some..right?!

  27. kitchenbelleicious says:

    you are a genius! This is incredible. I can’t wait to try it

  28. Smoked and Spicy Stuffed Turks Turban Squash | sportsglutton says:

    […] the past few years I’ve tinkered around with squash recipes creating some winners like the Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese and BBQ Acorn Squash as well as a few questionable tasting squashy things.  Interesting enough I […]

  29. Lesli Neilson says:

    Jed,

    Andy Fitzgerrell who’s now at Whole Foods? Well it’s a small world. This is Lesli Neilson and I’d LOVE to use your Montegrappa pasta recipe in The Salt Lake Tribune if I could. Just the recipe, no photos. May I have your permission to do so?

    • sportsglutton says:

      It is a small world indeed! Andy is a great source for assistance in cheeses and pairing. I’ll e-mail you about permission for using the recipe. So glad that you liked it!

  30. Alex says:

    omgoodness! this sounds amazing. <3 I also love the fact that you do thirsty thursdays with beer! my fav.

  31. Heather McCann says:

    Wow this sounds TASTY!
    PlantBasedDietAdventures.com

  32. Christina @ Sweet Pea's Kitchen says:

    Yay for fall recipes! This mac and cheese sounds great! I can’t wait to give it a try! :)

  33. petit4chocolatier says:

    This looks and sounds absolutely delicious! I love every single ingredient in your recipe!

  34. Ashley @ thedrivencook says:

    This looks just plain awesome…how did I JUST find out about this?

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