Easy, healthy apple cider butternut squash mac and cheese stuffed with melted brie and sharp cheddar cheese. It’s fall carb comfort food at it’s finest.
My mom and I drove 45 minutes the other day for brie. Fresh, amazing, incredible brie made in small batches, only in small wheels, from fresh milk that came from the farm right next to the cheese shop. The shop where they make everything on premises and the cows spend their days grazing on grass. I also drove there for sheep cheese, cheese marinated in beer, ones marinated in wine, ones made from water buffalo and locally made organic red pepper jelly. I spent more money than I would like to admit and DEFINITELY more than I’ll tell my husband. Luckily, this drive stops me from going there every week and forces me to make my cheese last a month.
The embarrassing part is, on our way home, we stopped somewhere else to get the sharp cheddar and mozzarella that Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese didn’t make. I might be out of control.
I did this for such good reasons though! First up, this butternut squash mac and cheese made with whole milk, fresh apple cider, stuffed with creamy, salty, fresh brie and sharp white cheddar. Topped with some real, proper pecorino romano because sheep cheese is to die for and then it’s consumed in approximately 15 seconds.
While the squash is roasting, you simply sauté butter, shallots and thyme, you stir in some flour to help thicken and then add the cider and milk, whisking until smooth. Add the cooked squash flesh, blend it up, melt in your cheeses and season with salt and pepper. That’s it! You pour it all over your cooked pasta and settle in to cheesy carb heaven.
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- 1 cup mashed, roasted butternut squash
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 2 TBSP butter
- 2 TBSP flour
- ⅛ tsp ground cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1½ cups whole milk
- 1½ cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
- 100g double cream brie, rind removed
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ lb macaroni ears or your favorite pasta shape
- Roast squash, cut side down on a baking sheet at 425F for 30-45 minutes, or until completely cooked and flesh is easily scooped.
- Meanwhile, in a large pot over medium heat, melt butter.
- When butter is hot, add minced shallot and a generous sprinkle of salt. Cook, stirring frequently until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in cinnamon, nutmeg, thyme and another healthy pinch of salt. Cook, stirring constantly for 30 seconds.
- Add flour and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Whisk in 1 cup apple cider until smooth.
- Bring to a boil.
- Continue to boil, stirring often to prevent flour from sticking to the bottom of the pan until the cider has thickened, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add milk and 1 cup of mashed butternut squash.
- Bring to a boil then remove from heat.
- In a blender, puree the sauce until smooth.
- Return to pot over medium-low heat and stir in cheeses.
- Stir until completely melted.
- Add salt and pepper to taste (the sauce should be much saltier than you think it should. It won't taste salty once paired with the pasta).
- Cook pasta in salty boiling water until al dente, drain, return to pot and pour sauce over pasta.
- Serve warm with fried sage and extra cheese.