Thanksgiving side dishes can create a real carb-a-palooza, and I am one who has a hard time dwindling down the menu to the basics. That’s why I created this slightly lighter version of a classic macaroni ‘n’ cheese.
Roasted butternut squash adds the classic creaminess, and just a bit of shredded white cheddar cheese provides the bite I cannot imagine missing from my Thanksgiving offering. I added some dried sage to help bring the flavors full circle for the season.
I also opted for gluten-free pasta and replaced regular milk with cashew milk to help reduce the heft of the dish, so you don’t have to worry about this one contributing to your need for an afternoon nap.
- 16 ounces roasted butternut squash*
- 12 ounces gluten-free elbow macaroni
- 2 tablespoons butter or ghee
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 shallot, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons flour (all-purpose or gluten-free baking)
- 1 tablespoon dried mustard
- 2 teaspoons dried sage
- 2 cups cashew milk (I used @addjoi)
- ½ cup vegetable broth
- 6 ounces white cheddar, shredded
- Kosher salt
- Cracked black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cook macaroni according to package directions, drain and set aside.
While macaroni is cooking, add squash and ½ cup vegetable stock to a blender and blend until smooth.
In a large pot over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Once melted, add diced onion and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, until onion is translucent.
Add garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add in 2 tablespoons flour and 1 tablespoon dried mustard. Stir continuously for 5 minutes.
Reduce heat to low. Add in 2 cups cashew milk and stir continuously until the consistency of gravy is reached. Remove from heat and stir in butternut squash puree and 4 ounces of the shredded cheese.
Add 2 teaspoons dried sage, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper. Return cooked pasta to the pan and stir until well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning, as needed.
Pour into a 2-quart baking dish and sprinkle remaining 2 ounces of shredded white cheddar on top. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve.
* Roasting butternut squash: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Wash squash and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds, score the cut-side of the squash and place cut-side up on a foil-lined baking sheet. Brush with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until squash is easily pierced with a fork. . Squash can be roasted, scooped out and stored in an air-tight container up to 4 days in advance.