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Butternut Squash and Kale Macaroni and Cheese

March 22, 2010

So this recipe is a combination of three recipes- count ’em THREE.  When I made Giada

butternut squash and kale mac n cheese

deLaurentis’ Squash and Prawns a while ago, I thought the sauce would make a much healthier mock-macaroni and cheese.  Then I saw a recipe for a carrot macaroni and cheese that used carrots in much the same way, and a recipe over at The Kitchen Sink that uses kale in some mac n’ cheese and my new recipe was born.  It turned out great..the butternut squash makes a pretty yellow savory sauce, and the kale adds great green and some texture to the dish so it’s more like a meal.  Now, don’t think this is going to taste exactly like macaroni and cheese- the butternut squash flavor is too strong for that.  But for a slightly healthier and nutritious alternative, it’s great.  Serves 8.


1-2 lb butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes

1 clove garlic, minced

1 T olive oil

1 c vegetable stock

1 c milk

2 1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese, divided

2 bunches kale, de-stemmed and chopped

1 box rigatoni, rigatoni mezze or other tubular pasta


Heat oven to 400 degrees and great a 9″ x 13″ baking dish.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and add garlic, stirring for 1 minute.  Add cubed butternut squash and saute until slightly browned and beginning to soften, about 7 minutes.  Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer until squash is very tender, another 7-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil to cook the pasta.  Add the pasta and cook until still chewy- you want to under cook it by about 2 minutes so you don’t overcook it when the dish bakes.  Two minutes before the pasta is ready to be drained, add the kale.  Drain pasta and kale and return it to the pot.

When squash is tender, puree it with an immersion blender or in a blender until smooth.  Stir in the milk and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Stir in 2 cups of the cheddar cheese.  You want the sauce to be the consistency of a cheese sauce, and add more stock or milk if it’s too thick.  Pour the butternut squash mixture over the pasta and kale mixutre and stir gently to combine.  Pour pasta into the prepared baking dish and bake for 25 minutes.  Sprinkle with remaning 1/2 c cheddar cheese and bake for about another 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the pasta is heated through.  Serve immediately.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. sharon permalink
    March 22, 2010 10:44 am

    I am so going to make this.

  2. Sharon permalink
    March 24, 2010 5:52 pm

    We both really liked this. It’s also like a few things I’ve made before – a butternut squash mac and cheese and a rigatoni, kale and cheese bake — so kinda like a combo of the two of those, and better! I did use frozen squash to make a quicker meal – great for a weeknight! Thanks for posting!

  3. meg permalink
    March 31, 2010 11:02 am

    made this last night and it was INCREDIBLE. so excited to go home to the leftovers tonight!

  4. Amanda permalink
    September 13, 2011 10:31 pm

    We finally got around to trying this tonight and it was delicious!! Dan actually made it while I took a test and I had it to look forward to at the end. He may have interpreted “1-2 cups of butternut squash” as half a cup (you’d think such a math nerd would differentiate between that and 1/2), but fortunately I discovered it in time to correct the error. (This is the bonus of him having to ask for instructions on how to use the food processor.) The kale in it was so delicious! Great texture. I especially loved the edge pieces of past that had sort of dried out in the oven. We’ll be making this again for sure! ❤

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