Creamy Butternut Mac And Cheese Soup is rich, cheesy, loaded with good carbs, and the perfect ending to a crisp autumn day.
Adapted From Our Friends At Eating Well Magazine With Many Thanks!
All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC
Creamy Butternut Mac And Cheese Soup
The answer to this question is one of my favorites, but it will soon become one of yours, too! How do I know this? Well for starters, if your kids even get to taste this clever veggie-riddled mac n cheese soup, it’ll be a surprise, as I have more adults latch on to this EVERY TIME I make it!
So barring YOU not sharing with the wee ones, this is the perfect disguise for getting the kiddos to down the good stuff. A container of sweet frozen butternut squash puree is devilishly combined with shredded cheddar and reduced fat cream cheese adding good nutrition to a much loved favorite. This cheese sauce is really a thick and creamy soup base, the butternut lending a marvelously orange color making it seem all the cheesier! The addition of macaroni enables us to call it mac ‘n cheese, so you know they’ll dive in without hesitation.
This dish is comforting, appealing to both adults and children, and can be made in advance and frozen for a future meal. It also makes a very thoughtful dinner element if providing meal assistance for a family in need due to a new baby in the house, a passing, or illness. When the unthinkable happens, gifts of food not only nourish the body but can also nourish the soul. Pair with a home baked bread, simple salad, and an easy sweet, and you’ve humbly outfitted a family to eat.
This delicious butternut squash macaroni and cheese recipe is really a very thick, very appealing butternut squash SOUP. Oh yeah, and there is a macaroni and cheese element in here by way of some elbows and some extra sharp cheddar. Salivating yet?
Creamy Butternut Mac And Cheese Soup is that all around cool weather comfort dish that kids love and adults dare to indulge in. It’s ultimately creamy, mildly sweet from the addition of butternut squash, and gets just enough dry sherry to make the flavor profile VERY interesting.
How could a bowl full of noodles and cheese get BETTER with the incorporation of some winter squash you ask? Trust me, this isn’t a recipe to miss especially because of that winter squash. If you are already a fan of butternut, I am basically handing you heaven in a bowl. If you’ve yet to sample this fall favorite, don’t wait. Don’t.
Do You Have What’s Needed To Make Creamy Butternut Mac And Cheese Soup? Check The List!
elbow macaroni or other favorite noodle pasta
all purpose flour
low sodium chicken stock
frozen pureed butternut squash
half and half or whole milk
reduced fat cream cheese
shredded sharp cheddar cheese
dry sherry or white wine vinegar
fresh or crispy sage leaves
fresh snipped chives
How This Recipe Came About…
Simply said, I love fall, embrace fall, and react to just about every smell and taste that is awesome about fall. Oh c’mon all of you pumpkin spice peeps out there…YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE! So I love to get into my element with cider and pumpkin and winter squash BIG TIME come September, October, and November.
This delicious butternut squash macaroni and cheese recipe is really a very thick, very appealing butternut squash SOUP. Oh yeah, and there is a macaroni and cheese element in here by way of some elbows and some extra sharp cheddar. I highly recommend this comfort dish because it genuinely has it all. Did I mention its origin is Eating Well Magazine? Shh! Don’t tell your kids!
So, What Does Butternut Squash Taste Like Exactly?
Butternut is sweet and savory rolled into one with a mild nutty undertone. In my opinion, it is most comparable to a sweet potato, but smoother once pureed due to an almost 10% higher water concentration. It develops a flavor and texture that’s suited to soups, roasting, boiling, sautéing, stuffing and it makes a sweet and beautiful puree. Although used as a vegetable in cooking, this variety of squash is actually a fruit that grown on a vine.
How To Make Creamy Butternut Mac And Cheese Soup?
This dish could not be easier or quicker. Honestly, it is the reason I so often make it for friends who, for whatever reason (birth of a baby, passing of a family member, or illness), are unable to cook and rely on family and friends to provide a nourishing and hot meal.
I allow the frozen butternut squash to thaw about half way on the counter. This takes about 20 minutes or so. If you are unable to locate butternut squash puree in your grocers freezer, look instead for canned butternut squash.
Or, if you grow your own, choose a squash that is roughly 1 to 1 1/2 pounds, peel and cut it into 1-inch chunks. Toss with olive oil, Kosher salt, and a pinch of black pepper and roast in a 425 degree Fahrenheit oven for 30-ish minutes, turning half-way through. Puree in the food processor while still hot.
Next, I cook pasta(s) according to package directions. And by the way, your pasta may be semolina or whole wheat, whichever you prefer. I have tried this method using vegan pasta and find I meet with success ONLY when I add the cooked pasta at the very end and right before serving.
The ‘cheese sauce soup base’ is a snap and is all combined in one pot via the stovetop. A good and sturdy wire whisk will help you to keep things smooth while the lot thickens up.
If you prefer to whip out the slow cooker for this soup, combine everything including the creamy butternut squash puree with ONLY PAR-BOILED PASTA (cooked only half way and still tough) and heat on low for roughly 3 to 4 hours. If the mixture is too thick when you go to stir it, add a half cup whole milk or half and half and stir well to combine.
Modifying The Norm To Make It Not Entirely Average…
There isn’t much that I can think of that’d make this perfect dish of comfort any better than it already is. Seriously. It’s just all in there and nobody can complain that is isn’t healthfully based.
I have run across a butternut squash mac and cheese recipe or two where dry sherry is specified to enhance the brightness of the squash. In an effort to make this not entirely average, I decided to try it for myself in this dish and really rather enjoyed the result.
I specify dry sherry in the ingredient list. If you do not have dry sherry, white wine vinegar may be substituted in equal measure. It is the addition of acid that you are looking for. I do not recommend anything other than dry sherry or the white wine vinegar.
If you really want to pack this soup with goodness, shredded and well drained zucchini is essentially tasteless next to the butternut, but adds a tremendous amount of good carbohydrates.
If you use shredded zucchini, drain AND roll it tightly in a dry kitchen towel to squeeze it of most of the water content. Not doing so will result in a thinner soup. We’re going for thick here.
If you feel the need to “adult” this dish, add crispy sage leaves. I absolutely LOVE both the taste and texture of crispy sage leaves served here.
I add a scant amount of olive oil to a small non-stick fry pan and lightly toast the fresh, whole sage leaves on both sides. They are done in mere minutes and may be crumbled atop or added whole.
If you don’t think your eaters will embrace crispy sage but still want to embellish the final product, do as I’ve done in my photos and garnish with fresh sage or fresh snipped chives. In particular, the sage SCREAMS AUTUMN and its aroma perfectly compliments any winter squash.
What To Serve With Creamy Butternut Mac And Cheese Soup?
When I package this as a meal to take to a friend, I am always sure to include a loaf of my home baked buttermilk bread. I know, double starch, but this is a comfort food meal.
I also prepare a salad. Sometimes I go simple with the salad, and sometimes I assemble a quasi-main dish salad to balance the fact the I’m delivering soup. Both my Fresh Peach And Tomato Caprese Salad as well as my Marinated Fresh Fig And Mozzarella Salad are colorful and filling salads perfect to accompany this soup.
A good sweet nibble or light dessert is a classic chocolate chip cookie. This method for the DoubleTree Hotel’s signature chocolate chip cookie knocks my meal out of the ball park!
Can Creamy Butternut Mac And Cheese Soup Be Made Ahead?
Absolutely yes! I make this butternut squash and cheese soup ahead in two parts.
First, I cook the noodles according to the package directions and drain them. I use a tablespoon of olive oil and stir them while hot to keep them from sticking. I place them in a container with a tight fitting lid until I am ready to assemble the soup, and into the fridge they go.
The butternut squash cheesy soup base comes next. I follow the recipe as instructed but stop before adding the noodles. The soup base goes into the fridge until I am ready to assemble in a large container with a lid.
Reheating is a cinch and best done stovetop in a large non-stick pot over medium-low heat. The soup keeps well refrigerated for up to one week.
Can Creamy Butternut Mac And Cheese Soup Be Frozen?
Absolutely yes again! Assemble the entire recipe and ladle into one large container or several small containers with tight fitting lids. Allow to cool completely before affixing the lid(s) and popping into your freezer. Reheating is best done stovetop in a large non-stick pot or sauce pan over medium-low heat.
How To Serve Creamy Butternut Mac And Cheese Soup?
HOT and with plenty of home baked buttermilk bread and additional dry sherry tableside. If desired, garnish with additional shreds of sharp cheddar cheese.
Creamy Butternut Mac And Cheese Soup
- large non-stick sauce pan
Ingredients for Creamy Butternut Mac And Cheese Soup
- 1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni semolina or whole wheat
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 4 cups chicken broth preferably low sodium
- 1 (10 ounce) package frozen pureed butternut squash thawed on counter for about 20 minutes
- 2 cups half and half or whole milk
- 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese reduced fat and softened to room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry may substitute white wine vinegar
- pinch black pepper
- crispy sage leaves or fresh sage leaves
- chives freshly snipped
- Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add flour and mustard and whisk for 2 minutes. Gradually add broth, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil.
- Add squash and return to a boil. Stir in half-and-half and bring to a simmer. Cut cream cheese into cubes and add, whisking constantly until it is melted. Remove from heat.
- Combine Cheddar and cornstarch in a medium bowl, tossing to coat evenly. Slowly add the cheese to the soup, stirring constantly until melted. Stir in the macaroni, dry sherry and pepper. Garnish with crispy sage leaves, fresh sage leaves, or freshly snipped chives.