I found the best looking mac and cheese recipe a while back and it’s been waiting for me ever since. I’ve had it stored in my bookmarks on my computer. Last night, I decided to go ahead with preparing it and boy was it a treat. I haven’t eaten anything cheesy like this in such a long time. It filled my belly and made me smile.
Before I began putting this dish together, I thought it had a lot of moving parts. Whenever I see a recipe like this, I sort of dread making it. I much prefer the easy two or three step ones. Upon further review though, I found that this one wasn’t actually that complicated. When you boil it down, there aren’t that many ingredients and the cooking process is relatively simple.
The best part of this macaroni and cheese dish isn’t only the cheese, but the butternut squash. Mine was really sweet and perfectly cooked. I infused the cheese mixture with ground sage and nutmeg, so there was a fairly distinct flavor going on. Speaking of cheese, I used Asiago and Monterey Jack, which was a great combination. If you want to go with something more robust, I suggest Parmesan and cheddar. Those cheese hit a bit harder. The ones I used with this recipe are more mellow.
Overall, this is a fairly easy recipe to pull off and the result is outstanding. Just make sure you have a large 12″ cast iron skillet before you begin. You’ll need all that room.
1 Medium Sized Butternut Squash, Peeled and Cubed
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Ground Black Pepper
3 Tablespoons Butter
1 Teaspoon Ground Sage
3 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
3 1/2 Cups Whole Milk
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1 1/4 Cups Shredded Asiago Cheese, Divided
1 Cup Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
2 Cups Elbow Pasta, Cooked
1/4 Cup Breadcrumbs
3 Tablespoons Parsley for Garnish
I’d like to thank Southern Cast Iron for this recipe. I’m made so many great recipes from this website and I’ve been impressed with all of them. I’m looking forward to more in the future.
Arrange your oven racks so one is in the center position. Then, pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
Prep & Roast the Squash
Trim both ends from the squash. Then, peel it and cut it in half lengthwise. After that, scoop out the seeds and cut the squash into 3/4 inch cubes. Place the cubes into a large bowl and add one teaspoon of olive oil to it. Also, add 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the bowl along with 1/4 teaspoon of ground pepper. Mix everything together well.
Next, place the cubes onto a large baking sheet. Make sure the squash is only one layer deep.
Place the baking sheet into the oven for 30 minutes. When finished, remove the tray from the oven to cool and increase the heat in the oven to 450 degrees.
Cook the Pasta
Fill a medium sized saucepan about half way with water. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta (about one cup of dry elbows) and cook for about 10 minutes or until the pasta is tender. When it is, drain the water and add one teaspoon of olive oil to the pot. Mix the pasta with the oil so it doesn’t stick to itself. Set the pot aside.
Prepare Cheese Mixture
Warm a large 12 inch skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and when it’s melted, add in the ground sage. Mix these ingredients well until the sage is dispersed into the butter. After that, add the flour to the skillet, mix constantly, and let cook for one minute. Add the milk and let that warm up. Stir for five minutes until it thickens slightly. Then, add in the ground nutmeg, one teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of ground pepper, one cup of Asiago cheese and the one cup of Monterey Jack cheese. Mix until the cheese is completely melted (this should only take a few seconds) and all the ingredients are combined.
Finally, reduce the heat to low and add in the cooked pasta and the butternut squash.
Smooth the ingredients in the skillet so they are relatively level with the rim.
Add Topping & Roast
Sprinkle and remaining Asiago cheese over the contents of the skillet evenly. Then, sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the same thing.
Place the skillet in the oven for eight minutes. During this time, the cheese should melt and the breadcrumbs should brown slightly. Keep an eye on things to make sure they don’t go too far. When finished, remove the skillet from the oven and turn off the heat.
Plate & Serve
To make things really good looking, you can sprinkle some chopped parsley over the mac and cheese if you wish. Or, you can use another herb, such as sage or something along those lines. Then, divide the mac and cheese among plates or bowls and serve. Enjoy!
The Final Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese
This was so good. I’m telling you, it was creamy and smooth and the butternut squash added a unique element. Definitely give this a try and when you do, be sure to tell me about your experience down in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!