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Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Tuck a roasted butternut squash puree into this delightful butternut squash mac and cheese casserole for color and flavor. Lots of Gruyere and sharp cheddar cheeses balance the sweetness of the squash. It’s a lovely vegetarian main, especially when paired with a crisp green salad.

Thanksgiving was lovely, and now it’s on to the next thing, yes? This is how this time of year makes me feel: happy, so happy to be celebrating and cooking and gathering together, but then as soon as the dishes have been cleared it’s time to think about the next event/dinner/etc. I love that in a way: always planning and plotting. Yet also: whew.

I am currently sipping a late cup of coffee while listening the rain come down on the fire escape outside. My new ‘office’ is a little corner of our bedroom where I have squeezed in my desk, a gift from my parents ages ago. There’s a window in front of me as well as to my right; the one to my right is open a little and all I hear is drip-drip-drip. Atop the desk are piles of paper, my camera, a lamp, and a notebook that currently contains lists in various stages of completion. I’m staring down another article that is taking much longer than it should (photos are finished, however, which is nearly half the battle). I have a pot of minestrone soup going on the stove and a batch of flourless ginger cookies in the oven. I’m starting to think about lunch options.

As a consolation prize for applying myself to my tasks, I have the last of the roasted butternut squash macaroni and cheese I made last week for our pre-Thanksgiving dinner. The New York Times ran a story on ‘vegetarian comfort food’ that immediately caught my because there is little else I love more than vegetarian comfort food as this site no doubt proves. I’m also on a mission to convert DW to butternut squash, as he has an extreme aversion to orange vegetables (though will eat my pumpkin-chocolate chip cookies without issue and I think I did catch him eating his entire bowl of pumpkin-leek soup on Thanksgiving …), or at least the idea of them. Folding a roasted squash puree into mac and cheese seemed a good way to entice him into eating it.

It’s a simple enough recipe, just butternut squash roasted and pureed and folded into a cheese sauce that’s then draped over pasta and baked a little while longer. While the squash roasts, you can make the sauce and pasta, and the ‘active’ time is whittled down to about 20 minutes. It also makes an enormous amount: a family of four could get about two dinners out of this (for two people we had 2 dinners and lunches besides). I doctored up the recipe a bit, adding dried herbs, and a bit more salt, and used whole wheat macaroni, which I prefer, and it’s worth clicking the link to see a few other recipes included in the article.

Hard to believe Thanksgiving was already over a week ago – the turkey leftovers (I went the Trader Joe’s pre-brined bird route this year, and a 14-pounder was done in about 3 hours; my tiny oven, occasionally the subject of much ire, never fails to astonish) are long since digested and I am starting to write up a menu for our holiday party in few weeks (flourless desserts, naturally, will feature).

This recipe is adapted from the NY Times. I made some changes to the Times’ recipe, most notably the inclusion of Gruyere cheese, which I love in macaroni and cheese. I also used extra sharp cheddar, as I have a penchant for very sharp cheese especially in recipes such as this one. We ate our servings with various vegetables – steamed broccoli, a salad, roasted brussels sprouts and cauliflower – and they were all just right.

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Nicole Spiridakis
Tuck a roasted butternut squash puree into this delightful butternut squash mac and cheese casserole for color and flavor. Lots of Gruyere and sharp cheddar cheeses balance the sweetness of the squash. Adapted from the NY Times.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 10 servings
Calories 559 kcal


  • 1 pound elbow macaroni , choose whole wheat or gluten-free macaroni as needed, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour , or gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 7 cups milk
  • 2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1 cup Gruyere cheese , shredded
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt , and to taste
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme


Roast the butternut squash:

  • Heat oven to 375℉. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Place the squash skin side down on a lightly greased baking sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil. Place in the oven and cook until the squash is soft all the way through, about 1 hour. Set aside until cool. When cooled, remove the skin and place it in a food processor. Purée until smooth.

Make cheese sauce:

  • Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and stir to make a roux – cook it for 3 minutes, stirring the entire time. Add 3 cups of milk and stir until thickened. Add the rest of the milk and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  • When the sauce reaches a boil and is thicker, remove it from the heat and stir in the shredded cheeses. Stir until melted. Stir in salt, pepper, and dried herbs.

To assemble the dish:

  • Preheat the oven to 350℉.
  • Place the cooked macaroni in a large bowl. Pour in the cheese sauce and add the puréed butternut squash. Gently stir and fold together the pasta, sauce, and squash puree.
  • Spread the mixture in a large 9×13" ovenproof dish and heat for 20 minutes until it is hot through and slightly bubbly.


Calories: 559kcalCarbohydrates: 59gProtein: 23gFat: 26gSaturated Fat: 15gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 76mgSodium: 600mgPotassium: 668mgFiber: 3gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 8816IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 557mgIron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe?Let me know in the comments how it went!


  1. Thanks so much for this. I had a butternut squash searching for meaning and made this tonight following the NYT recipe. (I didn’t have gruyere on hand) I halved the recipe, added a bit of salt and used half white and half yellow cheddar. Everyone cleaned their plates! They couldn’t place the taste but finished it up. I had made earlier in the day and refrigerated, so I cooked at 400 for about 25 minutes. I had some leftover cheese sauce to which I added worcester sauce and dry mustard for welsh rarebit over toast for lunch. I had forgotten how much I loved that as a kid. This was a really nice change from straight up Mac and cheese (and snuck in some more veggies). The rest of the roasted butternut is going to find a home in pasta sauce later this week!

  2. i just love butternut squash in pasta dishes! and with lots of cheese… yum.

    beautiful post! i hope you post those ginger cookies soon – those are our favorites!!

  3. I’m feeling incredibly homesick for an evening with the 6 of us tucked into your living room drinking wine and playing board games. This mac ‘n cheese would have been the perfect meal (for some of us).

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