There is no comfort food that gets me quite like macaroni and cheese.
Do you think you can guess why? Let’s try a little multiple choice.
A) I love pasta.
B) I love cheese.
C) All of the above.
You guessed it, the answer is a resounding C!
This mac ‘n’ cheese is great for momentarily fooling the family, since it has the same crazy orange colour as the boxed stuff. However, in this case the colour is coming from nutritious pureed butternut squash.
The deception won’t last long, though, as this really doesn’t taste at all like the salty delicious horror of chemicals. The butternut squash puree is very sweet, and is cut perfectly by the salty bacon and Parmesan cheese, not to mention the chicken stock and cream sauce. I love butternut squash, and am so happy to have another way to use it aside from my usual soup! This dish is definitely a mix of sweet and savoury, and a nice addition to the fall/winter menu.
Despite it’s cheesy, rich appearance, it’s actually surprisingly light, with chicken stock replacing some of the heavy cream, and all that butternut squash puree in place of more and more cheese. Due to it’s lightness, it can dry out when reheated, so if you’re freezing this for future reheating I would recommend adding another tablespoon or so of butter and an additional splash of cream and/or chicken stock. Enjoy!
- 8-10 slices bacon, roughly chopped
- 2½ cups dry elbow macaroni
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 oz cream cheese
- 1 cup butternut squash puree (canned, or see below for instructions for homemade)
- ⅔ cup evaporated milk or heavy cream
- ¼ cup chicken broth
- 1 tsp salt
- ¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 green onions, chopped (optional)
- Cook bacon in frying pan until quite crisp. Set bacon aside and drain fat.
- In same pan, melt butter and cream cheese, then stir in butternut squash puree, evaporated milk, chicken broth, and salt.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.
- When pasta is cooked, toss with sauce, cheeses, green onion, and reserved bacon. Stir until cheese is melted.
- Serve with fresh ground pepper and additional cheese, if desired.
This recipe was inspired by and liberally adapted from the fabulous Lindsay, who constantly inspires me with her recipes, photography, and relaxed, friendly writing style – if you’re only going to read two blogs (this one being one, of course :)) I recommend reading hers. You’ll notice her original version has a lot more “stuff” in it, and I made it that way and we enjoyed it, but I changed it the second time to suit our tastes, and the kids’ tastes. Try it both ways and let me know your thoughts!
Lisa W says
Yum! Made this for dinner tonight and the girls actually ate dinner (this IS an accomplishment!)
You know what would make this a little more awesome? Bacon batons cut from slab bacon. Or, if you really wanted to get deep into it, slow cooked pork belly. Also, I think acorn squash would be good for smaller servings, if you don’t want leftover squash. But if you like to cook with butternut, do it. Use the rest for a spiced harvest mousse.
I’ve never cooked with acorn squash – this would be a great dish to start with, you’re right!
Do you think this would taste good with pumpkin? I have some puree in my freezer.
I’m sure it would – I tend to prefer my pumpkin in baking, but I’ve seen lots of pumpkin pasta sauce recipes. If you try it, let me know how it is!
How cool, I love the idea of “coloring” mac’ncheese with butternut squash!
Yah, I couldn’t believe what a vibrant orange it made the dish!
Corey @ Family Fresh Meals says
This looks like the perfect comfort food. I am also a bacon addict, so that helps win me over also :)
Yes, I think the bacon was what sold it for my husband too :)
Kate @ FoodBabbles says
Oh my goodness!! I love this and NEED to make this mac and cheese! This sounds like an amazing recipe.
Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers says
You don’t even know how much I would love this dish! This is truly amazing! I love BUtternut Squash and making Mac & Cheese is perfect! Best comfort food ever!
Well you certainly know what good is, this extreme close up is nothing but torture! I so wish I had this for lunch-love the blend of bacon and squash in there. Very creative and no doubt tasty.