Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

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Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese - Mac and cheese at it's finest! So creamy, so rich + so amazing yet it's so much healthier than traditional mac and cheese!

Mac and cheese at it’s finest! So creamy, so rich + so amazing yet it’s so much healthier than traditional mac and cheese!

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese - Mac and cheese at it's finest! So creamy, so rich + so amazing yet it's so much healthier than traditional mac and cheese!

Holy moly of mac and cheeses.

This is seriously one to make throughout the entire year. And you know what? You can actually make this 365 days out of the year because this recipe uses canned butternut squash puree!

Did you guys know this even existed? I had no idea they had these convenient cans at the grocery store – I’d always puree butternut squash myself, almost losing a finger or hand in the process of cutting up those difficult squashes.

Oh and here’s another fun bonus for you guys. You can swap out the butternut squash for sweet potato or pumpkin puree so you can have the trifecta of mac and cheeses this season.

So again. I say, holy moly of mac and cheeses.

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese - Mac and cheese at it's finest! So creamy, so rich + so amazing yet it's so much healthier than traditional mac and cheese!

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese at it’s finest! So creamy, so rich + so amazing yet it’s so much healthier than traditional mac and cheese!

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces medium pasta shells
  • 6 slices bacon, diced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped sage
  • 1 1/4 cups half and half
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 (15-ounce) can butternut squash puree*
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 10 ounces shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese, about 2 1/2 cups
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Directions:

  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Drain excess fat; transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.
  3. Melt butter in the skillet. Add garlic and shallot, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Whisk in flour and sage until lightly browned, about 1 minute.
  5. Gradually whisk in half and half, milk, butternut squash and Dijon. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced and slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes.
  6. Stir in pasta and cheese until melted, about 2 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. Serve immediately, garnished with bacon and chives, if desired.

Notes:

*Sweet potato or pumpkin puree can be substituted.

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