Butternut Squash Macaroni & Cheese

I’m nesting. Not in the typical bootie-knitting, floor-scrubbing, nursery painting way – but in the food way.

Pretty much every time I cook, I make enough to feed 18 people, and squirrel meals away in the freezer for future Jenn to appreciate. There’s enough gas potential in the amount of beans I’ve frozen in burrito-format to launch a spacecraft.

Everything else is fairly pasta-centric – lasagna, casseroles, and this macaroni and cheese.

Everyone – mostly people I don’t know – seems to think a baby bump is an invitation for one particular piece of unsolicited advice, which is, “Get lots of sleep now! ‘Cause you won’t get any for a long, long time!”.

Why, every stranger in the coffee shop, do you feel the need to impart that useless piece of counsel on an achy, nauseous, hormonal pregnant chick?

You can’t actually stock up on sleep. It’s not very useful advice. There’s a 92% chance I go totally bananas on the next person to tell me this.

I’ve resolved to only say warm, positive, encouraging things to moms-to-be. Join me?

In any case, as nutritional insurance against this zombie state that has been predicted for my future by so many helpful strangers, I’m doing my best to load everything up with vegetables, in case I’m less inclined to toss a side salad when – *cue dramatic movie trailer voicesleep comes to an end (dun dun dun).

Butternut squash totally disappears into creamy mac and cheese. I think I could have even doubled the amount I used. It adds a nice orange colour, too – nice, since homemade mac and cheese can often look a bit anemic.

I used strong aged cheddar, and it was delicious. I am sure gruyere mixed in there would be incredible.

I jazzed up the topping a bit with lemon zest and fresh parsley, and it really made the dish sing. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled if you feel like filling your freezer!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lb (340 g) penne or elbow macaroni
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 10 ounces (2 1/2 cups) shredded cheddar cheese, or a combination of cheddar and gruyere
  • 1 cup cooked, pureed butternut squash (see cooking note above), from 1/2 medium squash
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • salt, to taste

For topping

  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs or panko
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest, optional
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cook pasta in a large pot of salted, boiling water until al dente (for elbow macaroni, that’s about 7 minutes, for penne, more like 10). Drain and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk, a bit at a time.
  4. Bring sauce to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to low and cook until thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add shredded cheese, whisking until smooth. Whisk in butternut squash puree, nutmeg, pepper, and salt to taste. Add pasta to the sauce and stir to evenly coat. Transfer pasta to a buttered 2 quart (2 litre) baking dish.
  6. In a medium bowl, combine all topping ingredients and sprinkle evenly over pasta. Transfer dish to oven and bake until topping is golden and sauce is bubbling at edges, about 20 minutes.
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Jaime Tracey
10 years ago

yayyyy! Ive been looking for this recipe!! cant wait to try it πŸ™‚

Jennifer Pallian
10 years ago
Reply to  Jaime Tracey

I know, Jaime! I totally thought of you πŸ™‚Β 

Jaime Tracey
10 years ago

I am going to try it on the weekend. I know it will be fantastic, I have yet to try one of yours that isnt! πŸ™‚

Jennifer Pallian
10 years ago
Reply to  Jaime Tracey

Thanks Jaimekins XO

Jessie Deans
10 years ago

I love your wit and humor. I love your photographs and recipes. You always choose exactly what i like to try seasonally. having said that, and i will always follow you, i thought i’d take this opportunity to say “i think dark nail polish does the professionalism of your photographs an injustice.”

Jennifer Pallian
10 years ago
Reply to  Jessie Deans

Thank you for the nice comments, and thank you for following! … but “I think my shiny dark autumn manicure was really pretty” so I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree… πŸ˜‰

Isabelle F.
Isabelle F.
10 years ago

The soup looks amazing, and I really love your nails!! Β  I think it’s nice to put a bit of yourself into the photos, it doesn’t always have to be serious…Β  Can’t wait to try this recipe πŸ™‚

Jennifer Pallian
10 years ago
Reply to  Isabelle F.

Thanks, Isabelle! Hope you enjoy the soup! πŸ™‚

Abigail
Abigail
10 years ago

I agree with Isabelle – I really love the shot with the carrots πŸ™‚ No injustice done to your professionalism, in my opinion.Β  Great post! I love autumn soups, I’ll try this one for sure! Thank you for sharing.

Jennifer Pallian
10 years ago
Reply to  Abigail

Thanks Abigail!Β  You’re welcome πŸ™‚Β 

Unhip Squirrel
10 years ago

Love the look of your soup and your manicure Jenn! Carrots and ginger are such a winning combination.

Jennifer Pallian
10 years ago
Reply to  Unhip Squirrel

Thanks Nicola!

Daubioulle chantal
Daubioulle chantal
10 years ago

qui fait de si jolies photos ?

Jennifer Pallian
10 years ago

Merci Chantal, elles sont toutes les miennes πŸ™‚

Denise @ TLT
10 years ago

I often make a carrot soup almost identical to this one, but I often add some orange as well. Love your idea of giving it a spicy cayenne kick, will try that one next time!

Jennifer Pallian
10 years ago
Reply to  Denise @ TLT

Yummy, I like your idea of orange too!

Andrea Wages
Andrea Wages
9 years ago

My boyfriend actually made this, we drew straws.Β  He was skeptical that something with just carrots and onions (I clarified there was ginger, cumin and pepper too) would taste good.Β  He was pleasantly shocked and went back for several servings.Β  He enjoyed his without yogurt, I with yogurt and it was fantastic.Β  A must have in this house, especially on days that my braces hurt and I cant eat anything else!

Thanks for such great recipes!

Jennifer Pallian
9 years ago
Reply to  Andrea Wages

You’re most welcome, Andrea! Thanks for coming back to comment! πŸ™‚

4cmeng
4cmeng
9 years ago

super easy, and impressed my dinner guests!

Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles
Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles
9 years ago

Mmmm…I love carrots and ginger together…and with a little yogurt? Yum!

Cheeku Bhasin
Cheeku Bhasin
9 years ago

A wonderful post and pictures. I have posted a link to it on my own recipe for spiced carrot and ginger soup. Do take a look when you have a chance. I have also recently published a cookbook on healthy Indian food.
Best wishes,

Cheeku Bhasin

Michelle McNulty
Michelle McNulty
8 years ago

This was SO tasty!! I pureed the soup in halves and my blender BROKE when pureeing the second half!! Half of my delicious soup all over the counter and floor πŸ™ So I decided to eat all of what was saved (the first half) in one sitting with a toasted piece of garlic bread made with Earth Balance butter – SO freakin good!

4cmeng
4cmeng
9 years ago

super easy, and impressed my dinner guests!

Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles
Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles
9 years ago

Mmmm…I love carrots and ginger together…and with a little yogurt? Yum!

Cheeku Bhasin
Cheeku Bhasin
9 years ago

A wonderful post and pictures. I have posted a link to it on my own recipe for spiced carrot and ginger soup. Do take a look when you have a chance. I have also recently published a cookbook on healthy Indian food.
Best wishes,

Cheeku Bhasin

Jessie Deans
3 years ago

I love your wit and humor. I love your photographs and recipes. You always choose exactly what i like to try seasonally. having said that, and i will always follow you, i thought i’d take this opportunity to say “i think dark nail polish does the professionalism of your photographs an injustice.”

Jennifer Pallian
3 years ago
Reply to  Jessie Deans

Thank you for the nice comments, and thank you for following! … but “I think my shiny dark autumn manicure was really pretty” so I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree… πŸ˜‰

Unhip Squirrel
10 years ago

Love the look of your soup and your manicure Jenn! Carrots and ginger are such a winning combination.

Jennifer Pallian
3 years ago
Reply to  Unhip Squirrel

Thanks Nicola!

Cheeku Bhasin
Cheeku Bhasin
9 years ago

A wonderful post and pictures. I have posted a link to it on my own recipe for spiced carrot and ginger soup. Do take a look when you have a chance. I have also recently published a cookbook on healthy Indian food.
Best wishes,

Cheeku Bhasin

Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles
Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles
9 years ago

Mmmm…I love carrots and ginger together…and with a little yogurt? Yum!

Isabelle F.
Isabelle F.
3 years ago

The soup looks amazing, and I really love your nails!!   I think it’s nice to put a bit of yourself into the photos, it doesn’t always have to be serious…  Can’t wait to try this recipe πŸ™‚

Jennifer Pallian
3 years ago
Reply to  Isabelle F.

Thanks, Isabelle! Hope you enjoy the soup! πŸ™‚

Abigail
Abigail
3 years ago

I agree with Isabelle – I really love the shot with the carrots πŸ™‚ No injustice done to your professionalism, in my opinion.  Great post! I love autumn soups, I’ll try this one for sure! Thank you for sharing.

Jennifer Pallian
3 years ago
Reply to  Abigail

Thanks Abigail!  You’re welcome :-) 

Denise @ TLT
3 years ago

I often make a carrot soup almost identical to this one, but I often add some orange as well. Love your idea of giving it a spicy cayenne kick, will try that one next time!

Jennifer Pallian
3 years ago
Reply to  Denise @ TLT

Yummy, I like your idea of orange too!

4cmeng
4cmeng
3 years ago

super easy, and impressed my dinner guests!

Daubioulle chantal
Daubioulle chantal
3 years ago

qui fait de si jolies photos ?

Jennifer Pallian
3 years ago

Merci Chantal, elles sont toutes les miennes πŸ™‚

Michelle McNulty
Michelle McNulty
3 years ago

This was SO tasty!! I pureed the soup in halves and my blender BROKE when pureeing the second half!! Half of my delicious soup all over the counter and floor πŸ™ So I decided to eat all of what was saved (the first half) in one sitting with a toasted piece of garlic bread made with Earth Balance butter – SO freakin good!

Jaime Tracey
3 years ago

yayyyy! Ive been looking for this recipe!! cant wait to try it πŸ™‚

Jennifer Pallian
3 years ago
Reply to  Jaime Tracey

I know, Jaime! I totally thought of you :-) 

Jaime Tracey
3 years ago

I am going to try it on the weekend. I know it will be fantastic, I have yet to try one of yours that isnt! πŸ™‚

Jennifer Pallian
10 years ago
Reply to  Jaime Tracey

Thanks Jaimekins XO

Andrea Wages
Andrea Wages
3 years ago

My boyfriend actually made this, we drew straws.  He was skeptical that something with just carrots and onions (I clarified there was ginger, cumin and pepper too) would taste good.  He was pleasantly shocked and went back for several servings.  He enjoyed his without yogurt, I with yogurt and it was fantastic.  A must have in this house, especially on days that my braces hurt and I cant eat anything else!

Thanks for such great recipes!

Jennifer Pallian
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrea Wages

You’re most welcome, Andrea! Thanks for coming back to comment! πŸ™‚

Cheeku Bhasin
Cheeku Bhasin
3 years ago

A wonderful post and pictures. I have posted a link to it on my own recipe for spiced carrot and ginger soup. Do take a look when you have a chance. I have also recently published a cookbook on healthy Indian food.
Best wishes,

Cheeku Bhasin

4cmeng
4cmeng
3 years ago

super easy, and impressed my dinner guests!

Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles
Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles
3 years ago

Mmmm…I love carrots and ginger together…and with a little yogurt? Yum!

Cheeku Bhasin
Cheeku Bhasin
9 years ago

A wonderful post and pictures. I have posted a link to it on my own recipe for spiced carrot and ginger soup. Do take a look when you have a chance. I have also recently published a cookbook on healthy Indian food.
Best wishes,

Cheeku Bhasin

Jessie Deans
3 years ago

I love your wit and humor. I love your photographs and recipes. You always choose exactly what i like to try seasonally. having said that, and i will always follow you, i thought i’d take this opportunity to say “i think dark nail polish does the professionalism of your photographs an injustice.”

Jennifer Pallian
3 years ago
Reply to  Jessie Deans

Thank you for the nice comments, and thank you for following! … but “I think my shiny dark autumn manicure was really pretty” so I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree… πŸ˜‰

Abigail
Abigail
3 years ago

I agree with Isabelle – I really love the shot with the carrots πŸ™‚ No injustice done to your professionalism, in my opinion.&#160 Great post! I love autumn soups, I’ll try this one for sure! Thank you for sharing.

Jennifer Pallian
3 years ago
Reply to  Abigail

Thanks Abigail!&#160 You’re welcome :-)&#160

Unhip Squirrel
10 years ago

Love the look of your soup and your manicure Jenn! Carrots and ginger are such a winning combination.

Jennifer Pallian
3 years ago
Reply to  Unhip Squirrel

Thanks Nicola!

Isabelle F.
Isabelle F.
3 years ago

The soup looks amazing, and I really love your nails!! &#160 I think it’s nice to put a bit of yourself into the photos, it doesn’t always have to be serious…&#160 Can’t wait to try this recipe πŸ™‚

Jennifer Pallian
3 years ago
Reply to  Isabelle F.

Thanks, Isabelle! Hope you enjoy the soup! πŸ™‚

4cmeng
4cmeng
3 years ago

super easy, and impressed my dinner guests!

4cmeng
4cmeng
3 years ago

super easy, and impressed my dinner guests!

Michelle McNulty
Michelle McNulty
3 years ago

This was SO tasty!! I pureed the soup in halves and my blender BROKE when pureeing the second half!! Half of my delicious soup all over the counter and floor πŸ™ So I decided to eat all of what was saved (the first half) in one sitting with a toasted piece of garlic bread made with Earth Balance butter – SO freakin good!

Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles
Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles
3 years ago

Mmmm…I love carrots and ginger together…and with a little yogurt? Yum!

Jaime Tracey
3 years ago

yayyyy! Ive been looking for this recipe!! cant wait to try it πŸ™‚

Jennifer Pallian
3 years ago
Reply to  Jaime Tracey

I know, Jaime! I totally thought of you :-)&#160

Jaime Tracey
3 years ago

I am going to try it on the weekend. I know it will be fantastic, I have yet to try one of yours that isnt! πŸ™‚

Jennifer Pallian
3 years ago
Reply to  Jaime Tracey

Thanks Jaimekins XO

Denise @ TLT
3 years ago

I often make a carrot soup almost identical to this one, but I often add some orange as well. Love your idea of giving it a spicy cayenne kick, will try that one next time!

Jennifer Pallian
3 years ago
Reply to  Denise @ TLT

Yummy, I like your idea of orange too!

Daubioulle chantal
Daubioulle chantal
3 years ago

qui fait de si jolies photos ?

Jennifer Pallian
3 years ago

Merci Chantal, elles sont toutes les miennes πŸ™‚

Andrea Wages
Andrea Wages
3 years ago

My boyfriend actually made this, we drew straws.&#160 He was skeptical that something with just carrots and onions (I clarified there was ginger, cumin and pepper too) would taste good.&#160 He was pleasantly shocked and went back for several servings.&#160 He enjoyed his without yogurt, I with yogurt and it was fantastic.&#160 A must have in this house, especially on days that my braces hurt and I cant eat anything else!

Thanks for such great recipes!

Jennifer Pallian
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrea Wages

You’re most welcome, Andrea! Thanks for coming back to comment! πŸ™‚

Cheeku Bhasin
Cheeku Bhasin
3 years ago

A wonderful post and pictures. I have posted a link to it on my own recipe for spiced carrot and ginger soup. Do take a look when you have a chance. I have also recently published a cookbook on healthy Indian food.
Best wishes,

Cheeku Bhasin

Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles
Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles
3 years ago

Mmmm…I love carrots and ginger together…and with a little yogurt? Yum!

Abigail
Abigail
3 years ago

I agree with Isabelle – I really love the shot with the carrots πŸ™‚ No injustice done to your professionalism, in my opinion.&#160 Great post! I love autumn soups, I’ll try this one for sure! Thank you for sharing.

Jennifer Pallian
3 years ago
Reply to  Abigail

Thanks Abigail!&#160 You’re welcome :-)&#160

4cmeng
4cmeng
3 years ago

super easy, and impressed my dinner guests!

Cheeku Bhasin
Cheeku Bhasin
9 years ago

A wonderful post and pictures. I have posted a link to it on my own recipe for spiced carrot and ginger soup. Do take a look when you have a chance. I have also recently published a cookbook on healthy Indian food.
Best wishes,

Cheeku Bhasin

Jessie Deans
3 years ago

I love your wit and humor. I love your photographs and recipes. You always choose exactly what i like to try seasonally. having said that, and i will always follow you, i thought i’d take this opportunity to say “i think dark nail polish does the professionalism of your photographs an injustice.”

Jennifer Pallian
3 years ago
Reply to  Jessie Deans

Thank you for the nice comments, and thank you for following! … but “I think my shiny dark autumn manicure was really pretty” so I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree… πŸ˜‰

Jaime Tracey
3 years ago

yayyyy! Ive been looking for this recipe!! cant wait to try it πŸ™‚

Jennifer Pallian
3 years ago
Reply to  Jaime Tracey

I know, Jaime! I totally thought of you :-)&#160

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