Treat yourself to this yummy Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese … it’s a lighter version of the classic favorite and so tasty!
I love cheese, I love pasta, and I especially love mac and cheese. All those carbs and melty goodness in one dish … it’s just so darn good!
Unfortunately, it’s also quite fattening and unhealthy. My favorite recipe has cups upon cups of cheese, whole milk, and lots of butter, and that’s not even counting all the pasta.
It’s one of those meals that I can only justify making once or twice a year.
Lucky for me, I discovered a way to lighten up my mac and cheese recipe big time: butternut squash. It’s my secret healthy ingredient, and you won’t believe how good it makes this Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese!
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
If you’ve visited Hello Little Home before, you’ve probably noticed that I love butternut squash. But even if you’re not a fan, you need to give this easy mac and cheese a try.
Butternut Squash may seem like a strange macaroni and cheese ingredient. But this dish really doesn’t taste like it’s full of squash … I swear.
Once you try this healthier mac and cheese, you are going to be in love. It’s so delish, and even better? It’s easy to make!
How to Make Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
This lightened-up meal starts with an easy bechamel sauce made from butter, flour, and low fat milk. After the sauce thickens, you’ll stir in a mixture of gruyere and cheddar cheeses … two of my favorites!
Next comes the secret ingredient. The butternut squash gets cooked in the pasta water and then mashed into the bechamel. Give the sauce a taste at this point. You won’t believe how decadent it tastes!
Once the sauce is ready, you’ll stir in the pasta and cover everything with garlicky breadcrumbs. After a quick bake, it’s time to dig in!
Wanna know the best thing about this Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese? It doesn’t taste like it’s been lightened-up! Every bite is satisfying, cheesy, and delicious!
I wish I could take a bite right now. It’s that good … and I know you’re going to love it just as much as I do!
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- nonstick cooking spray
For Bread Crumbs:
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 slices whole wheat bread
- 1/4 cup parsley, leaves only
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
For Squash and Pasta:
- 4 cups cubed butternut squash
- 1 pound pasta (shells, twists, macaroni, or similar)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups 2% milk
- 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg
- 4 ounces gruyere, shredded
- 4 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray; set aside.
Prepare Bread Crumbs:
- Place garlic cloves in a food processor. Pulse until minced.
- Add bread, parsley, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to processor. Pulse until bread is turned into crumbs.
- Drizzle breadcrumbs with olive oil and pulse a few times to combine. Set aside.
Prepare Squash and Pasta:
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Add squash and cook until soft (you should be able to mash it), about 7 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to bechamel sauce (see directions below).
- After squash is removed, add pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain.
- While squash is cooking, melt butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.
- Stir flour into melted butter. Cook, stirring constantly, until lightly golden.
- Slowly whisk milk into butter mixture until smooth.
- Reduce heat to a simmer and cook sauce until thickened.
- Remove sauce from heat. Whisk in nutmeg and cheeses until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- When squash is cooked, use a slotted spoon to remove it from the water and add it directly to the bechamel sauce.
- Mash squash into sauce until smooth. Then adjust seasoning with more salt and pepper, if desired.
- When pasta is cooked, drain and stir into sauce.
- Transfer pasta to a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
- Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
- Bake pasta until bubbling and crumbs are browned, about 15 minutes.
- Serve hot. Enjoy!
Are you a mac and cheese fan, too?