Baked Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese is a hidden veggie baked mac and cheese recipe. A delectable, creamy butternut squash sauce with crispy panko and sage topping make this unique mac and cheese crave worthy AND nutritious.
Cook pasta according to package instructions, but leave slightly undercooked (al dente); drain pasta, saving al of the cooking water; set aside.
For the sauce:
Return the pasta water back to the saucepot over high heat.
To the water, carefully add raw BUTTERNUT SQUASH; boil until it's fork-tender (about 10 min).
Remove from heat and drain cooked SQUASH in a colander; return cooked squash to the empty sauce pot.
To the squash, add CREAM CHEESE, HALF AND HALF, SALT, PEPPER, and NUTMEG; use a potato masher to mash and combine ingredients, creating a semi-smooth texture.
Stir in CHEESE and MILK; continue heating and stirring until well-combined.
For the mac and cheese casserole
Fold cooked NOODLES into sauce; pour into a prepared 10.5" x 7" baking dish; sprinkle more JACK CHEESE over the surface; then distribute PANKO BREAD CRUMBS, WALNUTS, and FRIED SAGE over the entire surface.
Bake uncovered 20-30 minutes until sauce is bubbly and top is golden brown; carefully remove, cool for 10 minutes; serve warm, garnished with crispy sage pieces scattered on the surface.
For the crispy sage topping
In a skillet on med-high heat, melt BUTTER; add SAGE LEAVES to the skillet and fry until crispy and slightly browned (1-3 minutes). Remove and transfer to a plate to cool
Yield: 7 cupsServing size: 1 cupNutrition facts are provided as a courtesy and are estimates based on unbranded ingredients acquired from a nutrition database. For accurate calculations, please refer to brand packaging information and consult your nutritionist.