Kids are certainly not the only ones that go gaga for the classic mac ‘n’ cheese, but we promise that kids and adults alike will come running for this elevated version. Butternut squash has such a mild, yet delicious flavor that just begs to be paired with a rich and creamy sauce; béchamel is a perfectly easy sauce to whip up, comprised of ingredients that we’re sure you already have in your pantries, so it seemed only natural to put the two together.
For a dish that’s full of complex flavor, this is not a crazy recipe to put together. It’s completely manageable, even after a long day, and it’s a great recipe to have on hand for when you want something comforting, but with a special twist–especially with the unexpected crunch offered by the hazelnuts! Keep this pasta in mind next time you need some inspiration in the kitchen. You and your family won’t be disappointed!
Cheesy Butternut Squash Shells
- 1 pound shell pasta or macaroni
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and diced
- 1 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra for garnish
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 bunch sage, de-stemmed
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook for 7-9 minutes, or until fork tender.
- Remove squash with a slotted spoon and set aside. Bring water back up to a boil and cook pasta according to packaging directions, or until al dente.
- Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and add sage leaves. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until dark and crispy. Make sure they don’t burn.
- Remove sage leaves to a paper towel, leaving butter in the pan. Season sage with salt and pepper.
- Gradually whisk in flour to create a roux. It will be clumpy, so continue stirring until smooth.
- Slowly pour in heavy cream and whisk until smooth. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper, and reduce heat to low.
- Transfer squash to cream sauce and use a fork to mash it into the sauce.
- Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary, then stir in cheeses and add pasta to the sauce.
- Stir everything together, transfer to serving plates, and garnish with sage leaves and hazelnuts.
Recipe adapted from Blue Apron