Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese with Crispy Sage

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

with Crispy Sage

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From the Test Kitchen

The base for this creamy, comforting dish is a white sauce, or béchamel sauce, made from butter, flour, and low-fat milk. It is the most common of the five French “mother sauces.” Sauces derived from mother sauces by adding cheese or other ingredients are often called “daughter sauces.”

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  • Nutrition
    PER SERVING
  • Calories
    Cals (est.)
fresh
ingredients
Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese with Crispy Sage
Title
  • 1 bunch Sage
  • ½ Butternut Squash
  • 8 oz Whole Wheat Penne
  • 2 Tbsps Butter
  • 2 Tbsps Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 cup 1% Milk
  • ¼ tsp Cinnamon
  • ½ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • ¼ cup Whole Wheat Breadcrumbs
Prepare the ingredients:
1 Prepare the ingredients:
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Pick the sage leaves off the stems. Peel and medium dice the butternut squash.
Crisp the sage:
2 Crisp the sage:
In a large pan, melt the butter on medium-high. Once melted, add the sage leaves and cook about 1 to 2 minutes, or until dark green and crispy, being careful not to burn the butter. Transfer the leaves to a paper-towel-lined plate and season them with salt and pepper, leaving the butter in the pan.
Make the béchamel sauce:
3 Make the béchamel sauce:
Sprinkle the whole wheat flour into the butter and whisk until combined. Cook on medium-high about 1 minute, or until lightly golden. Slowly whisk in the milk until no lumps remain. Reduce the heat to low and season with salt and pepper. Simmer 2 to 3 minutes, stirring until the sauce starts to thicken. Remove from the heat.
Mash the butternut squash:
4 Mash the butternut squash:
While the sauce simmers, add the butternut squash to the boiling water. Cook 7 to 9 minutes, or until very soft when pierced with a fork. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the squash to the béchamel sauce, leaving the water in the pot. Using a whisk or fork, mash the squash into the sauce until thoroughly combined. If using, stir in the cinnamon, then season with salt to taste.
Cook the pasta:
5 Cook the pasta:
Add the whole wheat penne and a big pinch of salt to the water used to cook the squash. Cook the penne 13 to 15 minutes, or until al dente. Before draining, reserve ½ cup of pasta cooking water. Transfer the drained penne, reserved pasta water, and the Parmesan cheese to the béchamel-squash mixture. Stir until well combined.
Bake the mac & cheese:
6 Bake the mac & cheese:
Transfer the béchamel-penne mixture into a baking dish. Drizzle the whole wheat breadcrumbs with a little olive oil to slightly moisten them, then season them with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the moistened crumbs in a single layer over the casserole. Bake 5 to 7 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly. Let stand for a few minutes before serving. Crumble the crispy sage over the top. Enjoy!

Tips from Home Chefs

Prepare the ingredients:
1 Prepare the ingredients:
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Pick the sage leaves off the stems. Peel and medium dice the butternut squash.
2 Crisp the sage:
In a large pan, melt the butter on medium-high. Once melted, add the sage leaves and cook about 1 to 2 minutes, or until dark green and crispy, being careful not to burn the butter. Transfer the leaves to a paper-towel-lined plate and season them with salt and pepper, leaving the butter in the pan.
Crisp the sage:
Make the béchamel sauce:
3 Make the béchamel sauce:
Sprinkle the whole wheat flour into the butter and whisk until combined. Cook on medium-high about 1 minute, or until lightly golden. Slowly whisk in the milk until no lumps remain. Reduce the heat to low and season with salt and pepper. Simmer 2 to 3 minutes, stirring until the sauce starts to thicken. Remove from the heat.
4 Mash the butternut squash:
While the sauce simmers, add the butternut squash to the boiling water. Cook 7 to 9 minutes, or until very soft when pierced with a fork. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the squash to the béchamel sauce, leaving the water in the pot. Using a whisk or fork, mash the squash into the sauce until thoroughly combined. If using, stir in the cinnamon, then season with salt to taste.
Mash the butternut squash:
Cook the pasta:
5 Cook the pasta:
Add the whole wheat penne and a big pinch of salt to the water used to cook the squash. Cook the penne 13 to 15 minutes, or until al dente. Before draining, reserve ½ cup of pasta cooking water. Transfer the drained penne, reserved pasta water, and the Parmesan cheese to the béchamel-squash mixture. Stir until well combined.
6 Bake the mac & cheese:
Transfer the béchamel-penne mixture into a baking dish. Drizzle the whole wheat breadcrumbs with a little olive oil to slightly moisten them, then season them with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the moistened crumbs in a single layer over the casserole. Bake 5 to 7 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly. Let stand for a few minutes before serving. Crumble the crispy sage over the top. Enjoy!
Bake the mac & cheese:
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