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This easy stovetop mac and cheese recipe uses Barilla Penne Pasta, butternut squash, and sharp cheddar cheese to give the classic comfort food a fall dinner twist! When paired with Clos du Bois Chardonnay, this meal is outstanding!
I’ve discovered that the best way to get through Monday (besides chocolate) is to have creamy, cheesy comfort food for dinner. It should probably be a law that all Monday’s should conclude with something like mac and cheese (aka the comfort food superior to all other foods).
We could even call it something super cheesy (ha. ha.) like Mac and Cheese Monday! Of course, this particular mac and cheese recipe is all dolled up for fall, so it wouldn’t just be any Mac and Cheese Monday, it’d be a Butternut Squash kind of Mac and Cheese Monday.
Come on. You’ve got to admit, it’s pretty catchy! I’m totally making this a thing.
Besides the butternut squash, what jazzes this dish up is the use of penne pasta. I happen to love penne in mac and cheese, because I feel like the cheesy sauce sticks to the pasta better than with traditional macaroni. Barilla Penne Pasta, besides being the number 1 choice of Italy, is a wholesome, quality pasta that is super simple to make! It adds a ton of flavor to this dish and holds up well with the creamy cheese sauce.
Additionally, this Penne Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese pairs extremely well with a glass of Clos du Bois Chardonnay. Made in California in the French way, this wine is bright, refreshing, and absolutely perfect for entertaining during the holidays. It’s an approachable yet elegant wine that is an incredible value!
My favorite part about this meal is how simple it actually is to put together from start to finish. The creaminess of the butternut squash adds flavor and texture to the traditional cheese sauce while also giving the pasta a richness that gives this comfort food a fall touch.
Between the pasta and the wine, this meal feels elegant and classy without having to exert much energy in the kitchen. It’s a fabulous meal for entertaining, because it’s simple and effortlessly feeds a crowd!
Comfort food. To the max.
This updated mac and cheese uses penne pasta instead of macaroni, and the cheese sauce is mixed with butternut squash, creating an ultra creamy and rich sauce!
- 16 oz Barilla Penne Pasta
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 4 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 2 cups butternut squash, cooked
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- parsley flakes, optional topping
- Clos du Bois Chardonnay
- Cook the pasta to the box's specifications in a large pot. Drain and return to the pot. Add in cooked butternut squash; stir. Set aside (the heat from the pasta will start to soften the butternut squash).
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add in flour, and whisk until it forms a roux. Continue to whisk constantly for about 1 minute (this will cook out the taste of the flour).
- Add in milk, slowly, whisking constantly. Once the milk and the roux have been mixed together, turn the heat to low, and whisk the mixture for 4-5 minutes, until it has thickened. Remove from the heat and add in cheese, stirring until melted. Add in salt and pepper. Stir.
- Add the cheese sauce to the pasta and butternut squash, and heat on low for 10 minutes (or until well heated through), stirring occasionally. The butternut squash will begin to cook down, adding to the creaminess of the sauce.
- Serve immediately, and top with parsley, if desired. Pair with Clos du Boise Chardonnay.
Vivian | stayaliveandcooking says
Mac and Cheese Monday should be a thing!! If my school served lunches like these I’d eat there everyday :p
Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice says
Mondays definitely call for lots of chocolate and comfort food! This looks SO good, Michelle! I’ve never used butternut squash in a dish like this. So perfect for fall!
Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious says
What a delicious dinner, and look at your pretty plate! It makes it all the more inviting!
I love how this mac is lightened up and made even more seasonal by adding butternut squash 🙂
Amanda | The Chunky Chef says
Butternut squash mac and cheese is one of my favorites!
carrie @ frugal foodie mama says
Love that you added butternut squash to this mac & cheese! 🙂 And yes- let’s totally make Mac & Cheese Monday a thing, lol.
Shelley @ Two Healthy Kitchens says
This is calling my name! So extra creamy with the sweet, autumn flavors of butternut squash! And I’m all in for Mac & Cheese Monday, too! 😀
Cathy | Lemon Tree Dwelling says
I bet the squash makes this SO creamy & delicious!!!
Ginny McMeans says
Very smart update on mac and cheese and the pairing with Clos du Bois Chardonnay os perfect!
Angie | Big Bear's Wife says
oooo I love all types of mac and cheese so I know I’ll love this too! Such an easy dinner too!
Can I freeze this?
I’ve never actually tried freezing this so I’m not 100% sure how it would turn out; however, I have frozen spaghetti and mac and cheese (reheating it on the stove) and it turned out fine, so I would guess this would freeze and reheat well! Hope that helps a bit! 🙂