RECIPE: Ultimate Butternut Squash Mac-n-Cheese

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PHOTO: Scott Clark, Creative Commons

This year, we are feeling the bitter winter blues more than any year in recent history. Many of us are finding ourselves eating at home rather than going out, simply because it’s too darn cold outside to even THINK about leaving to get something to eat – and I live in Florida!

Personally, I have really enjoyed spending more time cooking and eating at home recently. Rather than socializing at the nearby bar while spending entirely too much money doing so, I spend a lot of time getting closer to the people I love by making tasty, laughter-filled, homemade meals with them – and it has made my heart – and stomach – full and warm.

Nothing quite tastes like winter than the versatile butternut squash. This nutty “winter” squash can satisfy an array of tastes; whether it’s to indulge in my sweet tooth or gratify my taste buds in soups and casseroles, I cook it all fall and winter long in many different style dishes.

There is one butternut squash recipe that tops the rest, however. Simply mix butternut squash in with the cheesiest mac-n-cheese ever and finish by topping it with gingersnap cookies and pecans… and voila! The best winter warm up meal made for you, by you:

Butternut Squash Mac-n-Cheese with Sage and a Gingersnap-Pecan Crust
Serves: 6-8


  • 1 small-medium butternut squash (about 1lb), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
  • 1 lb elbow macaroni (bowtie or three-colored rotini are more festive options)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 ½ cups organic whole milk
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced
  • 2 cups grated aged Gouda cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1-2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • pinch of allspice
  • ½ cup crumbled gingersnap cookies (about 8 cookies)
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper


  • Preheat oven to 450°F
  • Lightly cover squash with olive oil, salt and pepper to season
  • Roast on a foil-lined baking sheet for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned
  • Set aside and turn oven down to 350 degrees
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil
  • Add pasta and cook until al dente according to the package instructions, about 8 minutes
  • While pasta cooks, heat a large pan over medium heat
  • Add butter, onion, and sage to the pan and sauté about 5-6 minutes until onions are translucent
  • Add flour and stir to combine
  • Let mixture cook for 2-3 more minutes
  • Whisk in stock and milk, and bring to a boil to thicken up
  • Add cheeses, mustard, nutmeg, and cayenne, and stir to combine
  • Mix in squash, and use a whisk or potato masher to mash it up (Personally, I suggest leaving a few chunky pieces of the squash in the sauce for texture)
  • Add salt and pepper to taste
  • Drain cooked pasta and return to pot
  • Pour sauce over pasta and combine well
  • Pour into a buttered casserole dish
  • Sprinkle gingersnap cookie crumble and pecans over the top and drizzle lightly with olive oil
  • Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes
  • Remove foil and continue baking until lightly browned on top, about 30 minutes more
  • Let cool for about 5 minutes before serving
  • Serve hot

(Originally inspired by a recipe via