Squash Mac and Cheese

Squash Mac and Cheese

Not just for the kids’ table, this mac and cheese is the ideal kickoff to cozy fall weather and comfort classics. Creamy, cheesy butternut sauce fills your favorite pasta shells, all adorned with loads of gooey Gruyère and cheddar cheese, plus fresh sage.

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 1 (16-ounce) package medium shells pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage (optional)
  • 4 cups milk
  • 6 ounces shredded cheddar (about 1½ cups)
  • 6 ounces shredded Gruyère (about 1½ cups)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Flaky sea salt for serving

Method:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut squash in half lengthwise; remove seeds. Place squash cut-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast until soft, about 1 hour. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, remove skin and purée in a food processor until smooth.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; cook pasta until almost tender yet firm to the bite, about 7 minutes; drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.

Meanwhile, make cheese sauce by melting butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk flour into butter until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and sage and cook for 30 seconds. Gradually whisk in 2 cups milk and stir until thickened. Add the rest of the milk and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add squash purée, 1 cup of each cheese, Dijon, paprika, salt and pepper.

Place cooked pasta in a large bowl and fold in the butternut cheese sauce. Place in a 9x13-inch oiled baking dish, top with remaining cheese and bake uncovered for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Garnish with flaky sea salt and ground black pepper before serving.

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