For the tenth mac of the month that happens to be in October, a butternut squash mac and cheese recipe sounded just right. And what goes better with a butternut squash recipe than goat cheese?!
Butternut squash dermatitis — yes, it’s a real thing!
I made this recipe with pre-cubed butternut squash that I didn’t have to cut myself. And pre-cut butternut squash is now going to be a staple in my life…If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen I had a bit of a debacle while I was cutting butternut squash recently. My hands started to feel reaaaally weird. Then, the skin started to tighten, crack, and then totally peel off! Turns out, what was happening is known as butternut squash dermatitis. Yes — butternut dermatitis is a real thing. You can read more about it here. Weird, hey? Luckily, my hands were back to normal the next day. I had a ton of responses on Instagram from other people saying the same thing happens to them when they cut butternut squash but they didn’t know why!
Now back to the butternut squash mac and cheese recipe…
Okay, sorry for going off on a tangent but I thought the butternut squash dermatitis incident was pretty interesting.
But nothing, and I mean nothing, interests me more than a delicious mac and cheese recipe. October is THE time of year to enjoy butternut squash recipes and it only makes sense to combine it with mac and cheese.
As I explained, I used pre-cubed butternut squash for this recipe. But you can also just buy a whole butternut squash and cube it yourself.
What do you need to make butternut squash mac and cheese with goat cheese?
- Sage (optional)
- Diced butternut squash (fresh/raw or frozen, if raw, will need to cook a bit longer)
- Vegetable broth
- Whole milk
- Old/sharp cheddar cheese – shredded yourself! Here’s why.
- Goat cheese
- Pasta – I use shells because I love how they hold the sauce
By the way, if you’re a big fan of goat cheese, don’t miss my baked goat cheese dip recipe. It’s the most popular recipe on my site!
The magic sauce
Speaking of sauce, the sauce for this mac and cheese recipe is really something special. This calls for less butter and no flour, unlike most of my mac and cheese recipes that use those ingredients to make a roux.
The butternut squash takes on a life of its own once it’s cooked and combined with milk, etc. It’s the perfect thing to mix with cheese for a pasta sauce! You could easily serve this to a child to sneak in an extra serving of vegetables without them knowing!
Another thing that makes the sauce special is nutmeg. You might think of this as a sweet ingredient as opposed to savory, but it’s actually used in a lot of pasta recipes. My recipe calls for 1/4 tsp. but feel free to start with 1/8 tsp. and see what you think before adding more.
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese with Goat Cheese
- 3 cups pasta measured uncooked, I use shells
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 bunch sage optional
- 2 cups butternut squash diced
- ¾ cup vegetable broth
- ¼ tsp nutmeg or ⅛ tsp for a less pronounced nutmeg flavor
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup sharp cheddar shredded
- ¼ cup goat cheese crumbled, plus more for topping
- salt and pepper to taste
- Boil pasta according to package directions in a large pot of generously salted water, drain, and set aside. You can add a tablespoon of cold butter to the pasta and stir to combine to help the pasta stop cooking.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a separate large sauté pan. If you're using sage leaves, sauté them in the hot butter for 1-2 minutes until crispy. Transfer the sage leaves to a separate plate lined with paper towel and set aside. I use a slotted spoon to remove the sage leaves from the butter.
- Add the cubed butternut squash, vegetable stock, and nutmeg to the pan with the butter and stir to combine. Cook until the stock reaches a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for 10-12 minutes, until the butternut squash is tender* and a fork can easily go through it. Stir occasionally.
- Carefully pour the squash mixture into a blender and add the milk. Stir, and ensuring you lift an edge of the blender lid slightly so steam can escape, pulse the mixture until smooth.
- Return the butternut squash mixture to the sauté pan on medium-high heat. Add the shredded cheddar cheese and goat cheese. Stir until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth and well-incorporated.
- Taste and season the sauce with salt and pepper. I start with about 1/4 tsp of salt and go from there.
- Add the cooked pasta to the pan with the butternut squash mixture. Toss to combine. Serve warm, and top each dish with a few crispy sage leaves and a small handful of more goat cheese if desired.
- *I used frozen cubed butternut squash and it thaws really quickly in the pan. No need to let it thaw ahead of time. If you're using fresh cubed butternut squash, you may need to cook it for a few more minutes until it's tender.
- This makes great leftovers — the sauce stays nice and smooth.
- Be sure to shred the cheese yourself (rather than buying pre-shredded cheese) to prevent the sauce from getting stringy.
- This will make about 3 servings for a main course or 4 servings as a side dish
Keep me posted once you try it!
XO – C