Table of Contents
- Why I love this recipe.
- Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.
- Here’s how to make this recipe.
- These pro tips will make this recipe a success.
- Frequently asked questions about this recipe.
- You'll love these other pasta recipes.
- Watch how to make this recipe.
- Have I convinced you to make this recipe?
- Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Recipe
A warm and comforting oven-baked dish, this cheesy butternut squash pasta bake is the mac and cheese you never knew you needed. Sharp cheddar cheese flavors partner with the soft sweetness of butternut squash, onion, and garlic. Topped with buttery breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese, this hearty dish is perfect for a cool fall evening.
Why I love this recipe.
Pasta with a cheese sauce is already perfect and often comes in the form of macaroni and cheese. This recipe is not meant to replace the macaroni and cheese we all know and love. Instead, this is a great variation when you want to use something seasonal in a new and exciting way. Butternut squash, and any winter squash, has become the start of fall cooking. The squash can be roasted, blended into soups, and sautéed so why not make it into a cheese sauce? Instead of hiding a vegetable, this recipe celebrates the addition of squash. The sweet and buttery-tasting squash is blended with some cheese for a sauce that is lighter than traditional cheese sauce but full of flavor. This may not take the place of all macaroni and cheese recipes, but it will definitely find a spot in the weekly lineup.
Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.
- Butternut squash is a perfect fall-time addition and has a delicious flavor profile. This recipe uses one pound of squash, so look for a small to medium-sized one.
- Garlic will add an immense depth of flavor that is needed to cut through the squash and cheese.
- Chicken or vegetable stock is used to create a sauce with the squash. Use chicken or vegetable stock depending on personal preference for keeping it vegetarian.
- Milk helps thin the sauce and create the right consistency while also offering a bit of richness.
- Cheddar cheese will be the carrier of the cheese sauce. Use a good quality sharp cheddar for a more intense flavor or a milk cheddar for a more kid-friendly sauce.
Here’s how to make this recipe.
- Prepare the sauce. Over medium heat, melt butter in an oven-safe pan. Dice the onion and add to the butter along with the salt. Once the onion has begun to cook and turn translucent, add in the garlic and cook briefly for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Then, add the chicken stock. Dice the squash into small cubes and add to the pan. Cover and let cook for 15-20 minutes.
- Cook the pasta. As the squash cooks, bring the water to a boil. Add kosher salt and the noodles and cook until al dente according to the pasta instructions.
- Blend the sauce. While the pasta cooks, take the sauce off the heat and add it into a blender with the milk. Blend until smooth, then add back to the pan. Add additional salt and black pepper. Add the shredded cheddar cheese and place on low heat until the cheese melts.
- Assemble and bake the dish. Drain the pasta and place it into the saucepan. Fold into the sauce. In a small bowl, combine melted butter, breadcrumbs, and Parmesan cheese. Place in a 375°F oven for 18 to 22 minutes until it bubbles throughout. Once baked, remove and serve warm.
These pro tips will make this recipe a success.
- Preparing the squash is important. Make sure to remove the seeds and peel the squash. This dish requires the sauce to be well-blended and smooth. By removing the peel, the squash has a better consistency. When dicing the squash, be sure to cut it into small, uniform pieces. The smaller the pieces, the quicker it will cook.
- Cooking the pasta al dente is vital for creating a good dish. Al dente means the pasta is not fully cooked yet. This is exactly what you want, as the noodles will finish baking in the sauce in the oven.
- Vent the top of the canister when blending. Make sure the lid of the canister is on but has an opening for heat to escape while the squash blends. If it doesn’t have a place to escape, the heat can build, forcing the lid off the blender and causing a mess.
Frequently asked questions about this recipe.
Yes, any sweet winter squash can be used, but butternut is the easiest to peel. Kobocha, buttercup, and red kuri would be delicious but can be a bit more difficult to peel.
An immersion blender can be used but may not give the silky texture needed for this recipe. In a pinch, it will work, but for the best texture, a high-powered blender is best.
The leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will keep for 7 to 10 days.
Yes, the stock is easily substituted with vegetable in place of chicken.
This is a great recipe with which to use any combination of cheeses. Gruyére, Monterey Jack, pepper jack, aged cheddar, and others would all be great options to use in place of the cheddar cheese. Stay away from dry cheeses, as they will not melt into the sauce correctly.
Watch how to make this recipe.
Have I convinced you to make this recipe?
I hope you make this recipe and put some food on your table. Leave a comment and share a star rating so you let others know how much you love this recipe. This helps show others that this is a recipe they too can make, enjoy, and love!
Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta
For the pasta
- 1 onion diced
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 ½ cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 lb butternut squash peeled and cubed
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 8 oz cheddar cheese grated
- 12 oz pasta
For the breadcrumb topping
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- ¾ cup fresh breadcrumbs
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Over medium heat, melt the butter in a 3 ½-qt oven-safe skillet. Once melted, add the onion and ½ tsp kosher salt. Sauté until the onion is soft and translucent, 4-6 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and cubed squash. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until the squash is fully tender, 15-20 minutes.1 onion, 2 tbsp unsalted butter, 1 tsp kosher salt, 3 cloves garlic, 1 ½ cups chicken or vegetable stock, 1 lb butternut squash
- While the squash is cooking, prepare the pasta. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, season with salt, and cook the pasta according to the package instructions for al dente.12 oz pasta
- When the squash is tender, remove it from the heat. Pour the squash, any remaining liquid, and the milk into a blender. Leave the vent slightly open and covered with a cloth. Blend on high until the squash is smooth.1 cup whole milk
- Return the blended squash to the skillet. It will be thin. Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium-low heat. Add the shredded cheese, ½ tsp kosher salt, and black pepper, and stir until it is smooth. Remove the sauce from the heat.8 oz cheddar cheese, ½ tsp black pepper
- Drain the al dente pasta and add it to the prepared sauce. Stir the pasta and cheese together until combined.
- In a small bowl, combine the melted butter, breadcrumbs, and Parmesan cheese. Mix to combine and sprinkle over the pasta.1 tbsp unsalted butter, ¾ cup fresh breadcrumbs, ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Bake in the preheated 375°F oven until the pasta is bubbling and the breadcrumbs are toasted, 18-22 minutes. Once baked, remove from the oven and serve.