The Village - Homemade butternut squash mac ‘n cheese with crispy topping

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The village: helping raise parents with our own blend of parenting stories, advice, hacks and cool finds
Mac n' cheese in a baking dish.

RECIPE

Homemade butternut squash mac ‘n cheese with crispy topping

by Anthea Dawson

There’s nothing quite like homemade mac n cheese… it’s truly one of my all-time favourite comfort dishes, and now my kids are equally smitten.

The hardest part of this dish is patience, waiting for the roux (the butter, flour, milk mixture) to thicken, but it is well worth the wait.

Adding the roasted butternut squash adds a lovely sweetness and a touch of nutrients to this carb-heavy indulgence. You could also add some spinach leaves or kale to make it even healthier, but my kids take great offence to the addition of anything “green”. This dish also freezes well if you want to make it in advance!

Ingredients

SERVES 6 - 8

  • 1 small butternut squash, split in half and seeds scooped out
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 12 oz macaroni
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 8 oz grated cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

Preparation

Preheat your oven to 425 F degrees.

Rub the oil on the 2 squash halves and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until squash is soft in the middle, about 30 minutes.

Once it’s cooled a bit, peel the skin off and mash the squash with a fork until you have a 1/2 cup. Save the rest of the roasted squash for another use (like butternut squash soup!) Bring the oven temperature down to 375 F degrees.

In the meantime, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the macaroni until cooked through (about 10 minutes). Drain, return to the cooking pot and toss with olive oil. Set aside.

In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. While stirring with a whisk or a fork, slowly sprinkle the flour in the melted butter. Add the minced garlic and chopped onion and cook for 2 minutes.

Slowly add the milk while whisking, and then add the vegetable stock. Bring the mixture up to the boil, whisking all the while, and then reduce the heat to medium-low.

The sauce will thicken but it will take time, about 5 - 10 minutes, so be patient. You know it’s thick enough when the sauce coats the back of a spoon.

Once you have reached this stage, stir in the grated cheese and the 1/2 cup of mashed butternut squash. Season the cheesy sauce with salt and pepper and stir in the cooked macaroni.

Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray and add the macaroni. Spread it out evenly and sprinkle with the panko crumbs. Cover the dish with tin foil and bake in the oven for 12 minutes. Remove the tin foil and bake for another 8 minutes until the topping is golden and crispy. Allow to cool for a few minutes as to not burn the roof of your mouth, and then serve and enjoy!!

RECIPE

Homemade butternut squash mac ‘n cheese with crispy topping

by Anthea Dawson

There’s nothing quite like homemade mac n cheese… it’s truly one of my all-time favourite comfort dishes, and now my kids are equally smitten.

The hardest part of this dish is patience, waiting for the roux (the butter, flour, milk mixture) to thicken, but it is well worth the wait.

Mac n' cheese

Adding the roasted butternut squash adds a lovely sweetness and a touch of nutrients to this carb-heavy indulgence. You could also add some spinach leaves or kale to make it even healthier, but my kids take great offence to the addition of anything “green”. This dish also freezes well if you want to make it in advance!

Ingredients

SERVES 6 - 8

  • 1 small butternut squash, split in half and seeds scooped out
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 12 oz macaroni
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 8 oz grated cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

Preparation

Preheat your oven to 425 F degrees.

Rub the oil on the 2 squash halves and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until squash is soft in the middle, about 30 minutes.

Once it’s cooled a bit, peel the skin off and mash the squash with a fork until you have a 1/2 cup. Save the rest of the roasted squash for another use (like butternut squash soup!) Bring the oven temperature down to 375 F degrees.

In the meantime, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the macaroni until cooked through (about 10 minutes). Drain, return to the cooking pot and toss with olive oil. Set aside.

In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. While stirring with a whisk or a fork, slowly sprinkle the flour in the melted butter. Add the minced garlic and chopped onion and cook for 2 minutes.

Slowly add the milk while whisking, and then add the vegetable stock. Bring the mixture up to the boil, whisking all the while, and then reduce the heat to medium-low.

The sauce will thicken but it will take time, about 5 - 10 minutes, so be patient. You know it’s thick enough when the sauce coats the back of a spoon.

Once you have reached this stage, stir in the grated cheese and the 1/2 cup of mashed butternut squash. Season the cheesy sauce with salt and pepper and stir in the cooked macaroni.

Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray and add the macaroni. Spread it out evenly and sprinkle with the panko crumbs. Cover the dish with tin foil and bake in the oven for 12 minutes. Remove the tin foil and bake for another 8 minutes until the topping is golden and crispy. Allow to cool for a few minutes as to not burn the roof of your mouth, and then serve and enjoy!!

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