Mac and cheese is a soul food staple at any thanksgiving dinner, holiday party, or family gathering. And not just any mac and cheese. It has to be creamy, flavorful, oozing with cheese. Definitely nothing out of a box with powdered cheese or pre-made; only the old-fashioned traditional way! Today I am going to share with you my most requested and undeniably everyone’s favorite: The best, creamy macaroni and cheese recipe.
I’ve come up with this recipe after numerous stints of trial and error. I know a lot of people LOVE Velveeta Cheese, and to each their own, but I do not like the distinct (strange) taste it has and I feel that it takes away from the homemade flavors of the mac and cheese. In my recipe, I use a variety of cheeses, which I feel is the KEY to delicious mac and cheese. I also try to avoid gluten as much as possible, so it took a while to find the perfect gluten-free noddles that are soft and don’t take away from the flavor of my mac and cheese. As always, when making your own mac and cheese at home, feel free to use whichever noodles and cheese you prefer!
I have to share with you the secret to the creaminess of my mac and cheese: it’s the butternut squash! The butternut squash does not have a strong taste, and really you wouldn’t know it was in the recipe unless I told you. Yet, it makes all the difference in how creamy and delicious the recipe comes out. All I will say is don’t knock it until you try it! You’ll be surprised how much of a hit this recipe is! And it is a great way to add vegetables and healthy nutrients to your favorite soul-food dish.
P.S. I just learned recently that while growing up my stepmom had been adding shaved carrots to our mac and cheese for years! I had no clue, but I will say her mac and cheese was always my favorite! So, it’s the perfect way to make your dish a little healthier and give the kids veggies in a dish they will love!
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
Capri Lilly | GFB
- prep time: 15 minutes
- cook time: 30-45 minutes
- total time: 1 hour
- 16 oz Brown Rice Penne Pasta (Gluten Free)
- 4-5 cups of water
- 12 oz Butternut Squash
- 2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
- 2 Cups Shredded Cheese Blend (I used Trader Joes- Parmesan, Asiago, Fontina, & Mild Provolone Cheese)
- 2 Cups of Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- 8 oz Gruyere Cheese Cubed
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 2 tbsp Almond Flour (or any regular or alternative flour)
- 1 tsp Italian Seasoning
- 1 tsp Dried Oregano
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
- Preheat the Oven to 350°. In a large pot, add water and ¼ tsp of salt. Bring the water to a boil. Pour the pasta noodles into the rolling water and reduce to medium-low heat. Cook the pasta until al dente.
- Season the butternut squash with salt, pepper, and 1 tbsp of Olive oil. Roast the butternut squash in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Once the squash is fully roasted, place the squash in a blender and blend for 1-2 minutes. (feel free to use 1-2 tbsp of the Heavy Whipping cream to make the butternut squash puree smoother)
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. (You do not want the butter to burn because the flavor will come up in the sauce). Stir in 2 tbsp Almond Flour (or any regular/alternative flour). Continuously stir to make a roux.
- Slowly pour in the 2 cups of Heavy Whipping Cream into the roux, stirring continuously. Stir in the Italian Seasoning, Paprika, Oregano, Salt, Pepper, and Garlic. Next, add the butternut squash puree and stir until it is blended in and the sauce is smooth and clump-free.
- Reduce to a low heat and add stir the shredded cheeses into the sauce. Continue to stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce has slightly thickened.
- Put the noodles into a large casserole dish, pour the sauce over the noodles, and mix well.
- Top the mac and cheese with any remaining shredded cheese and add any cubed cheese into the dish.
- Bake at 375°, with the first 20 minutes covered with foil and the last 10 minutes uncovered (to get the perfect golden crust)
- Serving: 10
- Fat: 38g
- Protien 28.3g
- Calories: 606