Butternut Squash Pancetta Mac and Cheese

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a guide on pureeing and storing squash at home. One of the greatest things about fall is the squash, and with just a little time spent prepping it, you can enjoy the good stuff all year long.

Butternut Squash Puree | Foodal.com
A nice and tasty butternut puree – but what to do with it? Make some good old American comfort food, of course!

This time of year is especially fun. It seems that everywhere I turn, there’s pumpkin flavored something. And I totally get it; squash is delicious, be it in a pie, served as a side dish or a soup, or in my morning latte. I’m definitely on the pumpkin spice bandwagon!

Butternut Squash Pancetta Mac and Cheese - Foodal.com

Add a little fall flair to your normal comfort food by including a butternut squash puree and pork pancetta into your standard mac n cheese. Read how now. http://foodal.com/recipes/pasta/butternut-squash-pancetta-mac-cheese/

Besides pumpkin, the other fall produce front-runner is butternut. It’s similar to pumpkin, just a little bit less sweet. You don’t often see it cropping up in baked goods, but it’s excellent roasted on its own, in a creamy butternut bisque, in healthy and hearty stews, or even added to dishes like tacos.

Can you say comfort food? Make this old standby into something that your whole family will love. Mac and cheese for grown ups! http://foodal.com/recipes/pasta/butternut-squash-pancetta-mac-cheese/

This time of year, I’m looking for dishes that are hearty, comforting, and easy to prepare. This Butternut Mac and Cheese is the perfect way to use some of your homemade pureed squash!

Not only does the butternut add all the right flavors with its subtle sweetness, it also takes off some of the calorie load that you’d usually find in macaroni and cheese.

I am a total sucker for classic creamy, homemade mac and cheese, but this version is truly the perfect way to curb the craving without having to endure that horrible bloated feeling for the rest of the evening.

Try this Butternut Squash Pancetta Mac and Cheese and turn this old standby into something special! http://foodal.com/recipes/pasta/butternut-squash-pancetta-mac-cheese/
Mmm… doesn’t get any better than some American comfort food with a little fall flair!

To make this just a little bit richer, I included pancetta – because everything is made better with a little crispy pork, right? If you want to up your veggie quotient, broccoli would be a great addition to this cheesy pasta as well.

If you’ve fallen in love with butternut squash after preparing this recipe, make sure to check out how to make our butternut and leek galette!

Butternut Squash Pancetta Mac and Cheese
Butternut Squash Pancetta Mac and Cheese
Votes: 2
Rating: 4.5
You: 4
Rate this recipe!
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A super mac and cheese recipe perfect for the fall - made with pancetta, butternut squash puree, and (optional) broccoli.
Butternut Squash Pancetta Mac and Cheese
Butternut Squash Pancetta Mac and Cheese
Votes: 2
Rating: 4.5
You: 4
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
A super mac and cheese recipe perfect for the fall - made with pancetta, butternut squash puree, and (optional) broccoli.
Ingredients
  • 16 ounces cavatappi noodles
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup butternut puree
  • 1/2-1 cup milk,
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 8 slices pancetta browned and crumbled
  • 2 tbsp Panko bread crumbs
Servings:
Units:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C). Lightly grease a 9x13" baking dish.
  2. Cook the cavatappi according to package directions for al dente pasta. Strain and toss with olive oil. Set aside.
  3. In a large stockpot, mix together the butternut puree and 1/2 cup milk over medium-low heat. Cook for about five mintues. Add the cheese, salt, ground mustard, and black pepper. Turn off heat and stir until cheese has melted. Thin with additional milk if necessary.
  4. Add the pasta and half the pancetta to the sauce and stir until pasta is completely coated. Spread into the prepared baking dish.
  5. Top the mac and cheese with bread crumbs and remaining pancetta in an even layer.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, or until completely heated through and the top is beginning to brown.
Recipe Notes

If you are making this pasta in advance to reheat later, you may want to add 2 tablespoons of butter to the sauce. This will help to keep it from drying out.

 

 

Photos by Chelsea Miller, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.

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About Chelsea Miller

Chelsea Miller, born and raised in Portland, Oregon, graduated from the University of Oregon where she discovered both her love of football and cooking great food. She's the founder of the food blog "A Duck's Oven" and began writing for Foodal in 2014.

24 thoughts on “Butternut Squash Pancetta Mac and Cheese

  1. What a great way to add nutrition to a traditional comfort food. I am always looking for creative ways to sneak veggies for picky eaters. Butternut squash is high in beta carotene (Vitamin A), and a good source of fiber. The best part is, the smoothness and color blend in so well with mac and cheese that nobody will notice!

  2. Whoa, this looks amazing. I’m going to make it tonight! Dinner decision is done. These are all of my favorite foods rolled into one. I already have squash, just need some pancetta. Thanks for the recipe!

  3. Ah thank you so much for this recipe! I looks so delicious and I am so excited to try it! I have been searching for quite some time for the perfect mac and cheese recipe because I find them all to be either too dry or too cheesy. I added more cheese to my normal recipe hoping it would moisten things up a bit but it was too much. This is perfect I love squash and I think it would be so good in a mac and cheese, and the perfect ingredient to add a little but of texture. Thanks again!

  4. What an astounding looking final product you have cooked up there. I can’t stress enough how much it tells me it is delectable, delicious and tasty and what’s impressive too is that it doesn’t take much time to prepare. Mac and cheese, when it is especially cheesy, has always been appealing to me. Squash is such a bonus and butternut and pancetta might be new to me, but I’m certainly willing to try it as part of the recipe. Thanks for sharing this!

  5. Oh, wow, I never considered adding squash puree to mac n cheese. I like this recipe. It’s an easy way to make mac n cheese a healthier meal. And kids won’t know any better hahaha 😀

  6. The presentation is way too enticing, luckily the weekend is a stone throw away…recipe read, re-read, noted down and kept to be unleashed on Saturday,this with a glass or two of wine; red of course, if not possible, apple juice will do the magic then :)…oh…i can’t wait {eyes tightly shut and fists clenched}

  7. Butternut squash has to be my most favorite vegetable ever. Usually I eat it microwaved, fried or in soups, but I never thought of adding it to pasta. I’m sure it will be delicious!

  8. Any variation to standard mac and cheese is always welcome in my kitchen! I love the stuff and am always experimenting with adding different ingredients to it. I especially like the thought of getting an extra portion of veg into my meal too so thanks very much for the recipe!

  9. This looks really good. Since I don’t eat pork I would substitute the pan ce tta with maybe some turkey bacon or something, but other than that, I can definitely see myself making this dish.
    I have loved all kinds of sq uash dishes, ever since I was a child, so for that reason, this is a dish that I can’t wait to make just so I can taste it.
    This is the only recipe that I can recall of so far that uses cavatappi noodles. I have yet to use that type of pasta, so looking forward to trying that as part of the dish as well.

  10. Any type of max & cheese I see is delicious, and this proves it. I love that I can tell that it is cheesy, but not too cheesy. This is also a great way to implement vegetables into the mix, without getting in the way of the main flavor. Thanks for sharing!

  11. I read the title of this & I started to drool. I love the incorporation of butternut squash. I would also probably add some green peas to the mix as well. Adding veggies for me is less of a punishment & more of a flavour gift. I love the idea.

  12. Calling this dish comforting is a little bit of an understatement, don’t you think? If I were to make this dish I’m sure my family and I will fill our stomachs to the brim with this stuff until we lapse into a dreamless, food coma. Butternut squash is an absolute favorite of mine.

  13. This mac and cheese seriously looks amazing! My daughter is crazy over mac and cheese and wants it everyday for dinner and I have been looking for recipes to switch it up and make it a little healthier for her so that way I don’t mind her eating it so often and this recipe is perfect! I cant get her to eat squash on its own but I bet she will eat it no problem mixed with her mac and cheese, thanks so much for this recipe!

  14. This sounds lovely! Butternuts are so delicious, and between that and the pancetta, this recipe has me drooling for a plate full. This is going on my ‘must make’ list, and I can’t wait to try it out, and share it with the family. I have no doubt they will be quite pleased with the end product. They are mac and cheese enthusiasts, and since we all have an affinity for squash and pumpkin, I know this recipe will be a keeper.

  15. I never saw this combination. Looks really good. I might do a vegetarian cashew replacement for the cheese. My pal is going to love this dish I’m going to have to pass it on. Kids will love this one and at least the squash adds more nutrition to it.

  16. Oh, my goodness. I would eat a dish of that right this minute. I’m hungry, but I’m also craving some good old comfort food. I am staying away from carbs for the most part, but this looks so good, I might even cheat for it. I also love the added veggies. I could eat veggies with everything, or *in* everything, as the case may be.

    I’m definitely going to have to test this one out, probably after Thanksgiving. I think I’ll be doing more than enough “cheating” over the next few days, so I’ll put this on hold. Still, yum!

  17. My family loves mac and cheese. I have been searching for a way to make it a little bit healthier. I know there is not much you can do with noodles and cheese to make them healthier, but this recipe has given me some new ideas. Thanks for the article!

  18. This is a great recipe, thank you. I made this last week, but added broccoli, this is another great way to incorporate vegetables in this dish. The pancetta is a great replacement for the ham, I think I would also like to try chorizo in this recipe.

  19. Wow. This sounds amazing! We are always trying to spruce up our mac and cheese for family cookouts, not to mention the holidays! I will have to give this one a shot! I also am reading the comments and I see someone added broccoli to their recipe. My daughter LOVES broccoli, so if I can get that in the meal, it would be a for sure shoe in. However, she is 6, and what 6 year old isn’t a fan of mac and cheese? Thank you for sharing this recipe! I will be sharing this on facebook so my older sister can have the recipe as well. Thank you!

  20. This mac ‘n cheese looks amazing! I’ve never thought about adding butternut squash or any kind of squash to mac ‘n cheese before, but if you can add other veggies to it….why not butternut squash. Occasionally I add vanilla and a little cinnamon to my mac ‘n cheese, I can only imagine what those wonderful flavors meshed with the butternut squash would create. Time to go and experiment in the kitchen!!

  21. Pretty sneaky! I love how you throw in the butternut squash into the recipe. Pureeing in was a pretty neat idea. It is indeed a very good way to make the recipe healthy and the kids won’t even know it. This recipe is definitely a winner, especially it’s not too complicated to make.

  22. The first thing that came to mind while reading through the recipe and seeing all the pictures was: “Oh wow, YUM!!” It’s fall here in South Africa at the moment and I have a big bag full of butternut that I didn’t really know what to do with. And then I found this! This will definitely be on the menu tonight! And the best thing about this is that I have all the ingredients right here and don’t have to go to the shop, to top it off…who doesn’t love mac ‘n cheese!! It’s a definite favorite in our house!

    • I tried this the other night, and what a hit! Hubby’s words were “Please, please make this again?!” And the best thing about this is, I got some veggies in my little girl without a fight! Next time I’m going to try this by replacing the butternut with some other veggies, first one on the list…Broccoli.

  23. This recipe looks amazing.
    My kids absolutely love macaroni and cheese and this recipe adding squash to it gives it some variety.
    I will make it and see if my kids like it. If not then I will eat it all 🙂

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