Butternut Squash & Bacon Mac & Cheese is the “grown up” mac and cheese of your dreams! Scratch made sauce with gruyere and sharp cheddar, crispy bacon, shallots, fresh rosemary, and sweet nutty butternut squash. Top it all off with crispy, buttery panko and parmesan and you have the perfect mac and cheese. It’s seriously amazing!
This is amazing alongside roasted chicken or pork and is the perfect side dish to take to Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners. It can also be the star of the show as a main dish. You will definitely impress your family and guests with this elevated take on classic mac and cheese!
***Tip for picky eaters: To hide the butternut squash, you can mash it up even more (see in the recipe) and it will blend into the sauce without there being chunks of squash.
Your Grocery List
- 1 butternut squash
- Gruyere cheese
- Sharp cheddar
- Fresh rosemary
- Cavatappi or macaroni
- Panko breadcrumbs
How to Make Butternut Squash & Bacon Mac & Cheese
No process pictures of the first step but peel, de-seed, and cube one whole butternut squash. Place the cubes on a baking sheet and roast in the oven at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes. You want them to be fork tender. Mash half of the cubes roughly and set aside.
Next, cook and crisp the bacon, set aside to drain then cook shallots in the bacon grease. Make a roux by adding butter to the shallots then sprinkle in flour. Slowly add in milk, bring to a boil, then the mixture will start to thicken.
Let’s talk cheese! Gruyere is AMAZING in this and even though it’s a little pricier than cheddar, it is a must. It melts so well and has a wonderful nutty flavor that works so well with the squash. Pair it with sharp cheddar and it’s the best combo. Add the cheese to the thick sauce and it will turn into cheesy amazingness!
To the cheese sauce, add the butternut squash, cooked bacon, fresh rosemary and pasta.
Mix it all together, pour into prepared dish, top with more cheese and an easy-to-make panko parmesan mixture. Bake for just 15 minutes and it’s ready to devour!
Enjoy this beautiful, delicious dish as a side or as the main attraction! Your family will be wowed and I know it will become a classic in your family too.
Good Things Utah TV Segment
I made Butternut Squash & Bacon Mac & Cheese a couple years ago on Good Things Utah and it is one of my favorite segments to date. Watch me make it here!
Sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace. Ingredients on sale October 12-18: butternut squash, olive oil, bacon, butter, sharp cheddar, elbow macaroni
Butternut Squash & Bacon Mac & Cheese
- 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cubed
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 slices bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 cup finely diced shallots
- 1/2 cup (8 TB) butter, divided
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 3 cups milk, 1%, 2% or whole
- 2 cups gruyere cheese, grated & divided
- 2 cups sharp cheddar, grated and divided
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
- 16 oz macaroni or cavatappi pasta, cooked according to box directions
- 2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup parmesan, grated
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.
- Place cubed squash on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper (to taste). Place in oven to roast for 20 minutes or until pieces are fork tender. Using the back of a wooden spoon, mash half of the pieces roughly. Leave on tray and set aside.
- In a large, deep skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon and place on a towel-lined plate. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease from the skillet.
- Reduce heat to medium then add diced shallots. Cook until softened, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add 4 tablespoons of butter to the shallots. Once melted, whisk in flour. Cook for about 1 minute or until the flour starts to brown. Whisk in milk with a slow, steady stream then bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
- Once the sauce thickens, add 1 ½ cups of gruyere and 1 ½ cups of cheddar. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and about ½ teaspoon of pepper. Stir until cheese is melted then remove from heat.
- Add rosemary, bacon, butternut squash and cooked pasta to the cheese sauce. Stir to combine. Pour mixture into the prepared baking dish.
- Melt remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in a bowl. Add panko and parmesan then stir to combine.
- Add remaining shredded cheese to top of pasta then sprinkle the panko mixture on.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until topping starts to brown. Serve immediately.
- This is the kind of recipe that requires extra effort so it is HIGHLY recommended to prep everything in advance. Chop, shred, measure, etc and have it all ready before you start cooking. This will make your cooking experience more enjoyable and go much more smoothly!