The recipe and photography for this post was provided by Carolyn Hodges of The Dinner Shift.
- 1 lb macaroni or shell pasta
- 1 14-oz can butternut squash soup (see notes)
- 8 oz shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese or crumbled goat cheese
- Optional seasonings: paprika, garlic powder, sage
- Optional breadcrumb topping: 1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve a cup of pasta water.
- In a saucepan, heat butternut squash soup to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 4-5 minutes, or until it slightly thickens. Whisk in grated cheddar (or crumbled goat cheese) until completely smooth, then season to taste with optional seasonings (see suggestions above) and salt to taste.
- Pour cheese sauce over hot cooked pasta. Use a bit of pasta water if necessary to thin it out.
- To make the breadcrumb topping (highly encouraged!), melt butter in a microwave-safe dish. Stir in breadcrumbs and season to taste with a pinch of salt. Transfer mac and cheese to an oven-safe casserole dish or cast iron pan and sprinkle breadcrumbs evenly over the top. Transfer to oven and broil for a few minutes, or until breadcrumbs are golden brown (keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn!)
Notes: A word about the soup. Ingredients are important here. I prefer Amy’s Kitchen Butternut Squash Soup because it contains a bit of flour, so it stands in as a sort of roux to create a creamy cheese sauce. Some canned (or boxed) butternut squash soups contain only vegetables and seasonings (awesome!) but don’t work as well here.