I’ve made this Rachel Ray Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese dozens of times over the past decade and it’s always a huge hit. Here is my very slightly edited version of the one linked, just making it a teeny bit healthier:
1lb whole wheat pasta (I like to use cavatappi)
1 Tbsp avocado oil (or olive oil)
2 Tbsp butter
½ medium onion
2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
3 Tbsp flour (whole-wheat, spelt, or any flour)
2 cups veggie stock (or chicken stock) – I may try bone broth next time
1 (10-ounce) box frozen cooked butternut squash, defrosted
1 cup almond milk (or whole milk or half-and-half)
2 cups (8oz) cheese, grated (combo of sharp Cheddar, Fontina, Gouda, and/or Gruyere)
½ cup grated parmesan cheese (I often omit this, but it makes the dish even tastier)
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
Dash of sea salt and black pepper
1. Bring a big pot of water to a boil and add the pasta and a dash of sea salt and cook until al dente.
2. Meanwhile, heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the oil and butter. When the butter melts into the oil, add the thyme and grate the onion directly into the pot with a hand-held grater or microplane. Cook the grated onion in butter and oil 1 to 2 minutes, then add flour and cook together 1 to 2 more minutes.
3. Whisk in stock, then combine with butternut squash until warmed through and smooth. Stir in cream or half-and-half and bring sauce to a bubble. Stir in cheeses. in a figure 8 motion and season the completed sauce with salt, nutmeg and pepper. Taste to adjust seasonings.
4. Drain cooked pasta well and combine with sauce. Serve with a little extra parm cheese on top.
5. If you’d like to bake the pasta, place in a 9 x 13 baking dish and top with a mixture of 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 4 tablespoons of melted butter and 1/3 cup of grated parmesan cheese. Broil until the topping is lightly browned.
The pictures show the sauce on cavatappi noodles and homemade fettuccini noodles.
Next time I want to hide even more veggies in here since my children are pickier than ever. So I will add whatever vegetables I have on hand at home. Pureed carrots is an easy one since they are orange. Sometimes pureed broccoli works for us as well.