Macaroni and cheese isn’t usually thought of as a fall staple, but adding a winter vegetable like butternut squash can make it Thanksgiving table worthy. It gives the dish a rich, golden color, without the dehydrated (and slightly scary) neon yellow powder that comes with boxed mac ‘n cheese. The squash contributes a slightly sweet taste and it’s hard to tell that there’s any vegetable in there. Only warm, gooey, cheesy bites of baked comfort-food goodness.

Medium

Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total time: 1 hour

Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:
1/2 pound (8 ounces) elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
2 cups milk
1 can butternut squash purée (or 1/2 medium butternut squash, cooked and mashed)
1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped (optional)
salt and pepper
2 cups shredded cheese (use any kind/variety)
1/4 cup breadcrumbs

Photo by Parisa Soraya

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
3. Melt coconut oil or butter in a large skillet over medium heat.

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4. Once melted, stir in flour and nutmeg and continue stirring for a few minutes.

Photo by Parisa Soraya

5. Add in milk, turning heat to high and bringing to a boil while constantly stirring. Continue to boil until sauce has thickened.

Photo by Parisa Soraya

6. Set heat to low and gently stir in the butternut squash purée.

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7. Add in the rosemary and then take skillet off heat.

Photo by Parisa Soraya

8. Combine sauce with cooked pasta. Season with salt and pepper.

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9. Grease a bread pan or casserole dish. Pour half of the noodles into the pan. Sprinkle half of the shredded cheese over the noodles. Add the remaining noodles and top with the rest of the cheese. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top.

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10. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Sprinkle more rosemary or parsley on top to garnish. Serve warm.

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Photo by Parisa Soraya

You can also use this recipe to make mac and cheese cupcakes. Or if you’re looking for something quicker, try making mac ‘n’ cheese in a mug.