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Macaroni and Cheese with Butternut Squash


Ricotta and pureed squash add extra creaminess to this comfort-food favorite.

  • Servings: 6
macaroni and cheese with butternut squash

Photography: Sang An

Source: Martha Stewart Living, January 2003


  • 1 small butternut squash (about 1 pound), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
  • 1 cup homemade or low-sodium canned chicken stock, skimmed of fat
  • 1 1/2 cups nonfat milk
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 4 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated (about 1 cup)
  • 4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, finely grated (1 ounce)
  • 2 tablespoons fine breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Olive-oil, cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine squash, stock, and milk in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Mash contents of saucepan; stir in nutmeg, cayenne, and salt, and season with black pepper. Stir to combine.

  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles; cook until al dente according to package instructions, about 8 minutes. Drain, and transfer to a large bowl; stir in squash mixture, cheddar, ricotta, and 2 tablespoons Parmesan.

  3. Lightly coat a 9-inch square baking dish (4 inches deep) with cooking spray. Transfer noodle mixture to dish. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan, and oil; sprinkle evenly over noodle mixture.

  4. Cover with foil, and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil, and continue baking until lightly browned and crisp on top, 30 to 40 minutes more. Serve immediately.

Reviews Add a comment

  • Kennycat
    19 FEB, 2017
    Made it exactly as recipe says , I found it quite bland and on the dry side . I have a feeling that the cooking time is too long .
  • fancycheese
    24 SEP, 2013
    This recipe is excellent -- SO flavorful and rich. However, instead of boiling the squash, I cut it lengthwise and roasted it cut side down at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. The aroma was heaven! And next time I will add mozzarella, as it was just slightly less creamy than traditional Mac. I analyzed the recipe at Calorie Count and one serving has about 460 calories, 10 grams of fat, 70 grams of carbs, and 21 grams of protein. I ate this with a salad and it was a good meal!
  • pack momma
    25 JUL, 2013
    Loved this recipe! and so did my family! My 7 year old proclaimed "this was the best macaroni & cheese he's ever had in his whole 7 yrs! Much better than the box!" I actually did not use the ricotta cheese ( not a family favorite) or oil and it still turned out great.
  • BagLady56
    30 DEC, 2012
    Loved the recipe and will make it more often. The flavors re amazing. Instead of Parmesan with the bread crumbs I used Gruyère.
  • sjz21
    27 OCT, 2012
    This has almost no flavor! What flavor it does have is nice, but, it needs a lot of help, definitely more nutmeg and cayenne, maybe some asiago and romano. I don't see how anyone can "love" this recipe unless they love plain pasta. But, maybe my squash was just a dud.
  • Kerrop80
    25 FEB, 2012
    I have become a big fan of this recipe, but if you are looking for a little more flavor you gotta be heavy handed with the cayenne! I actually add the cayenne, nutmeg, and another "everyday use" (trader joe's brand) spice while it cooks in the milk and stock. It really gets that flavor in, and gives it more punch when you eat it.
  • Marjie43
    17 OCT, 2011
    My family LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this recipe. No one even suspected there was the healthy addition of squash. It was like about the best Mac and Cheese I have ever eaten. I did add a wee bit of Dijon mustard. Not so much that you even knew it was there, but it added a complexity to the dish. This one rises to our favorites list!
  • BreHumphries
    19 SEP, 2011
    Love this, but with a few variations. I didn't have ricotta on hand so I substituted cream cheese, and liked the texture before baking it. Next time I'll stop there - it was a little dry after baking. Also I won't use a whole pound of macaroni next time. I prefer more sauce.
  • crazy4sushi
    29 AUG, 2011
    This was super easy but it tasted so unbelievably bland. And pretty dry. I added garlic and onion and double th cayenne. I also added some sage to the bread crumb topping. Still not worth making again.
  • meggie11
    30 MAY, 2011
    I thought this recipe was great! Just enough squash making it perfectly creamy. I guess the amount of cheese and squash depends on your preferred texture, but I thought this was just perfect. I also added some fresh sage and found it a tasty savoury addition.