I should probably preface this post by saying that this recipe is not the healthiest…it does have butternut squash in it, so there’s that. I eat a pretty healthy diet throughout the year, so I have no guilt indulging in some yummy food during Thanksgiving. This Mac and Cheese is legit! It has all the taste and smells of fall. The nutmeg and thyme will make your tastebuds scream with happiness! The recipe is actually an adaptation of 2 recipes. It combines a recipe for caramelized butternut squash and one for butternut squash mac and cheese. I make it once a year at Thanksgiving and everyone looks forward to it. It’s also always a big hit at Friendsgiving. So if you’re looking for an amazing, show stopping side dish to impress the in laws or your besties…you have got to try this one!
Caramelized Butternut Squash
What you need:
- whole butternut squash cut into small cubes (or buy the already cut squash)
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- 1/8 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
What you do:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put chopped squash on a pan and add the butter, brown sugar, salt, and pepper on top and mix it all together. Roast in the oven for 45-55 minutes and turn a few times with a spatula. Cook until the squash is tender and the glaze is caramelized.
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
What you need:
- 1 pound of macaroni with lines ( I use mini penne rigate)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- caramelized butternut squash (from above recipe)
- Black pepper
- Heat a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Salt the water then add the pasta and cook.
- While the 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.
- 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 add the caramelized 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.
*To save time, I have made the caramelized butternut squash the day before and refrigerated it. Then made the mac and cheese on Thanksgiving day. Or you can even make the whole dish the day before and heat up the next day.