I love the boxed mac & cheese just as much as my kids do, but every now and again I prefer something a little fancier. I made up a dish I call Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese but that doesn’t really explain the lusciousness that is this pasta. You’ve got sweet caramelized onions which play off the earthy butternut squash, then you hit it with some Gruyere cheese to add that savory salty creamy flavor, and then there is the fresh rosemary that adds a hint of fresh herbaciousness to the whole thing. Finally you cover the top with bread cubes and toast the whole thing up.
*Did you hear that? That rumbling sound? That was my stomach grumbling as I type this.
The recipe is based on this Martha Stewart recipe I found a few years ago. I have made some significant changes (namely switching winter squash for butternut and switching Parmesan for Gruyere) but both ways are delicious. You should try them both.
- 2 large onions cut in half and thinly sliced.
- 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves.
- 1 pound pasta. I like orecchiette but shells or spirals will work as well.
- 1 package frozen or canned butternut squash.
- 1 cup Gruyere cheese shredded.
- 3 slices of sourdough bread toasted and cut into tiny cubes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Add some olive oil to a pan that has been heated on medium. Pour your sliced onions in, season with salt and pepper then stir.
- Cover with a lid and let the onions cook on medium low for about 12-15 minutes. Check to make sure they aren’t burning every now and again.
- Cook your pasta according to the directions on the box. Don’t over cook.
- After the onions are soft take off lid, raise the heat to medium and stir. Slowly let the onions brown. The browner they are the sweeter they are. But DON’T let them burn.
- In a large bowl combine 1.5 cups of the squash, the cheese, and the caramelized onions.
- When pasta is ready take out 1-2 cups of the water and set aside. Drain the pasta.
- Add drained pasta to the big bowl and mix. If mixture is too thick pour in some of the pasta water. Remember, the pasta will soak up a lot of the liquid so don’t make it too thick.
- Pour pasta mixture into a large baking dish. I use one that is 9 by 13.
- Top pasta with the cubed bread and sprinkle on the rosemary. Bake until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.