Butternut Squash Mac And Cheese

Butternut squash mac and cheese is a social media darling that I’ve recently come around to. Truthfully, I grew up loving macaroni and cheese, but I was often confused by it. My mother, who cooked some signature dishes, but not a ton, made mac and cheese from scratch. My mom’s version of this iconic dish was loaded with cheese, three kinds, if I recall correctly, and always made a mess of the Corningware casserole pan she baked it in.  I reliably went for the corner piece where the abundance of extra crispy elbow noodles could be found. I loved it the day she made it, yet I loathed it afterward for the endless leftover days that followed. No matter the method, mac and cheese the day after was far less superior.

butternut squash mac and cheese

In contrast to my mom’s mac and cheese, my stepmother made the boxed kind.  And by “boxed” let me remind you it was the 80s, there was only one kind out there and almost no one read nutritional labels at the time. I found the florescent-orange “cheese” powder questionable, yet fascinating. There were no crispy corners, but the box-to-table speed was appreciated, especially to my six-year-old self.

butternut squash mac and cheese

Over the years I strayed away from mac and cheese, only to revisit it once I had kids. Truth be told, and much to my surprise, neither of my kiddos were big mac and cheese fans when they were little, homemade or store-bought. And trust me, it was not without me trying. If I had to bet, if you ask them now which kind they would prefer, they would likely say they prefer the boxed kind (meaning the slightly healthier, organic kind). This is mainly because it’s quick, they can make it themselves and perhaps, most importantly, they don’t have that dreaded casserole pan to clean afterward.

butternut squash mac and cheese

Despite dishes dictating their pallets, I will still occasionally make the homemade kind as a treat in the winter and no one complains. I was late to embrace the healthier squash version, but here we are. This is my version of butternut squash mac and cheese which has a subtle, nutty sweetness from the squash to balance the creamy cheese sauce. This recipe is not like my mom’s mac and cheese, nor the boxed stuff, I would say it falls in a wonderful, healthier category of its own, and I’m a fan. I will not tell you it tastes the same as traditional mac and cheese, because it doesn’t, but it’s rich, earthy, and incredibly satisfying in a whole different way, minus a lot of the calories.

butternut squash mac and cheese

About the Author

Andrea Potischman

I am a professionally trained NYC chef turned CA mom and food blogger. I post about real food, with doable ingredient lists that are family friendly.

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