Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

October 3, 2011

Fall is the perfect time to make this cheesy, rich, yet lighter version of macaroni and cheese. Butternut squash adds such a deep taste to it that you won’t miss the fat it substitutes nicely for. 

Adapted from Cooking Light (no online link found).

  • – 3 cups cubed and peeled butternut squash
  • – 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • – 1 1/2 cups fat free milk
  • – 2 garlic cloves
  • – 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • – 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • – 2 tablespoons fat free (or low fat) Greek yogurt
  • – 1 1/4 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
  • – 1 cup grated Romano cheese
  • – 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese – divided
  • – 1 pound cavatappi or shell noodles
  • – Cooking spray
  • – 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • – 1/2 cup Panko
  • – 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsleyPreheat oven to 375. Boil and drain pasta, rinse with cold water to prevent sticking and overcooking. Set aside.


Peel and slice butternut squash in to around 1 inch cubes. I nearly severed my finger off doing this so go slow. The skin is tough.


Bring butternut squash, chicken broth, milk, and garlic to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until squash can be easily pierced with a fork. Remove from heat and cool just slightly.


While squash is simmering, grate cheese. Use the wider grate for the Romano and Gruyere, and the finer grate for the Parmesan.


Once the squash mixture has cooled a little, ladle it carefully into a blender. Top with salt, pepper, and Greek yogurt. Blend until smooth, stopping midway to let steam escape.


Pour squash mixture into a large bowl, and immediately add all Romano, Gruyere, and 2 tablespoons of Parmesan. Mix well. The heat from the squash will melt the cheese most of the way. Add cooked, drained pasta and stir well.


Heat oil in a skillet and add Panko. Cook until golden brown, about two minutes. Watch carefully. Remove from heat, add remaining Parmesan cheese.


Spray a large baking pan dish with cooking spray. Pour the sauce and pasta into it. Top with Panko/Parmesan mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly.


Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
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  • MomEinstein

    October 12, 2011 at 10:16 am

    That looks amazing. I was looking for a fallish mac n cheese recipe and saw this in my Google Reader. You’re a dream come true.

    Pinning AND adding to my grocery list!

  • jess

    October 8, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    D, this actually looks amazing! Your pictures are great. You’re on your way Pioneer Woman style.

  • E

    October 3, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Yummy! I always throw broccoli in with the noodles to boil. They cook and you can mush them into super fine pieces that toddlers won’t notice!

  • Kate

    October 3, 2011 at 10:41 am

    Sounds absolutely delish and I will definitely be trying it. However, I just wanted to say that I never mess with peeling and cubing a raw squash; it’s just too difficult (and dangerous!). I always bake the squash (whole or halved) at 350 for 30 min to an hour (depending on size). Then once it cools a little you can scoop out the flesh or just peel the skin right off. Obviously for this recipe you’d then skip the part where you’re cooking the squash in the milk and broth but it should work fine.

  • Jen

    October 3, 2011 at 8:41 am

    Does it taste sweet? I like savory mac and cheese, so if its sweet, andré would peobaby be the ony one who would eat it.

    1. Diana

      October 3, 2011 at 8:53 am

      Hmmm, I’m not really sure how to answer that. It’s not really *sweet* but it’s a lot richer. The Gruyere is what makes it different from that sharp cheddar taste of other mac and cheese – I’m actually thinking about throwing 3/4 of a cup of cheddar in next time to see if it works.

  • Alexia

    October 3, 2011 at 8:14 am

    Sounds delicious to me! Pinning…

    1. Diana

      October 3, 2011 at 8:51 am

      Thanks <3

  • Jennifer @ Also Known As the Wife

    October 3, 2011 at 7:37 am

    I made something very similar last fall…I used acorn squash instead of butternut. It really dresses up the mac and cheese though. Try adding some prosciutto…it’s delicious!

    1. Diana

      October 3, 2011 at 8:50 am

      What a great idea! I’m going to add that next time.

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