Butternut Squash Sage Bacon Mac n Cheese

Butternut Squash Sage Bacon Mac n Cheese features penne covered in a creamy, rich sauce of pureed butternut squash, parmesan and sharp white cheddar with bacon and fresh sage.

Butternut Squash Sage Bacon Mac n Cheese + 4 Steps to Fancy Up Your Mac n Cheese

Homemade Mac n Cheese is one of my favorite winter comfort foods to make. It isn’t exactly diet food or anything that fits with January detoxing that everyone seems to be doing. Homemade Mac n Cheese is a bit sinful. Pasta loaded with rich, velvety cheese definitely gets my taste buds watering during these colder.

My latest obsession: Butternut Squash Sage Bacon Mac n Cheese.

I have been all about the squash these days. I added roasted butternut squash to black bean chili the other week. Sometimes we have it as a side dish. Butternut squash is an easy way to add a little bit of extra vegetables, color and nutrition to many of my favorite cold weather recipes so I am adding it to everything, including Mac n Cheese.

Butternut Squash Sage Bacon Mac n Cheese + 4 Steps to Fancy Up Your Mac n Cheese

I’ve added cubed butternut squash to mac n cheese before, but this time I decided to puree it. I love the golden color it added to the dish and the extra creaminess of the sauce.

Another thing I love about Mac n Cheese recipes like this Butternut Squash Sage Bacon Mac n Cheese is their versatility. I’m always changing things up and I usually have the basic ingredients on hand to throw something delicious together.

If you’d like to experiment on your own to come up with some fun flavor combos, follow these 4 easy steps to fancy Mac n Cheese.

4 STEPS TO FANCY MAC N CHEESE

It’s time to get creative in the kitchen. Try these four, simple ways towards creative macaroni and cheese recipes – like this Butternut Squash Sage Bacon Mac n Cheese. Sure we all love the traditional recipe, but it’s fun to mix things up once in a while.

USE DIFFERENT PASTA SHAPES

Embrace your inner child, or appeal to your own children with fun and different pasta shapes. Just because it’s “Macaroni” and Cheese, doesn’t mean you have to actually use macaroni pasta. In fact, I rarely do. Penne is a favorite like in this Butternut Squash Sage Bacon Mac n Cheese.

FANCY UP THE CHEESE

For this Butternut Squash Sage Bacon Mac n Cheese I wanted to pair the flavors of sharp white cheddar and nutty parmesan.

Lacking inspiration?  Check out the Cheesecyclopedia for the wide variety of available cheeses. Then, look up some of your favorites cheeses in The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity to find complimentary combinations.

Butternut Squash Sage Bacon Mac n Cheese + 4 Steps to Fancy Up Your Mac n Cheese

ADD A FEW MIX-INS

Adding accent meats and vegetables turns macaroni and cheese into a delicious, one pot meal with lots of flavor and color. 

If bacon is your thing, the best way to prepare it for adding to mac n cheese recipes is by making Perfect Homemade Bacon Bits. You can make a whole package of bacon ahead of time and store the prepared bacon bits in the freezer.

In this Butternut Squash Sage Bacon Mac n Cheese I’ve added bacon, my favorite meat mix in, fresh sage, and pureed butternut squash. The sage and bacon pair so well together and with the cheeses. The squash adds just a hint of flavor and gives the dish a nice color.

ADD A TOPPING

Crushed panko bread crumbs mixed with a little melted butter or crushed  Homemade Sourdough Garlic Butter Croutons make a nice, crunchy topping to any baked Mac n Cheese. You can add dried herbs or minced garlic for extra flavor, too.

Butternut Squash Sage Bacon Mac n Cheese + 4 Steps to Fancy Up Your Mac n Cheese

More Delicious Mac n Cheese Recipes to Try

What is your favorite Mac n Cheese Recipe?

Butternut Squash Sage Bacon Mac n Cheese

Yield: serves 6 - 8

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Butternut Squash Sage Bacon Mac n Cheese features penne covered in a creamy, rich sauce of pureed butternut squash, parmesan and sharp white cheddar with bacon and fresh sage.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. box Penne Pasta
  • 12 ounce bag frozen Butternut Squash
  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • 1 Yellow Onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced Garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced Fresh Sage
  • pinch Nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons Flour
  • 2 cups Whole Milk, divided
  • 4 ounces Sharp White Cheddar, grated
  • 4 ounces Fresh Grated Parmesan
  • 6 slices Center Cut Bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions:

Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.

To prepare the butternut squash, add the frozen squash to a steamer basket over the stove and steam until cooked through and hot. Alternatively, you may purchase frozen butternut squash steamer bags that may be steamed in the microwave. Follow the package instructions accordingly for cooking.

After cooking the butternut squash, add it to a blender with 1/2 cup of the milk and puree until completely smooth. Set aside.

In a large French or Dutch oven, melt the butter. Saute the onion for 3 - 5 minutes over medium heat, or until tender and golden. Add the garlic, sage, and nutmeg and saute and additional minute. Whisk in the flour and cook over medium heat till golden. Slowly whisk in the remaining milk (1 1/2 cups) while cooking over medium heat.

Stir in the sharp white cheddar, fresh grated parmesan and pureed butternut squash, whisking until the cheese is melted and the sauce is creamy.

Bring to a slow simmer over low heat, and then stir in the pasta and bacon. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Notes:

Try this method for making Perfect Homemade Bacon Bits when you cook the bacon for this recipe.