Carb-y goodness, braised butternut squash, thick-cut bacon, and a rich cheese sauce all mixed up with pasta for a mac n' cheese recipe that won top prize on the Food Network! Recipe by: MacKenzie Smith, Grilled Cheese Social
- 1 lb. thick cut bacon, finely diced
- 1 large sweet onion, finely diced
- 1 large butternut squash, chopped (about 4-5 cups)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 (6-oz) wedges of Roth Grand Cru®, shredded
- 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard
- 1 lb. fusilli pasta, boiled and cooked al dente
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 6 fresh sage leaves, minced
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- Salt and pepper
For the Mac and Cheese:
Boil water, and cook pasta until al dente. Strain and set aside.
Add bacon to a heavy-bottomed skillet, and turn heat to medium. Cook until fat has cooked out, and bacon is crispy. Remove bacon. Pour out half the rendered fat, and leave the rest in the pan.
Add diced sweet onion and a few pinches of kosher salt. Continue to cook over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly caramelized, scraping up all the bits and pieces on the bottom of the pan.
Add butternut squash cubes, another pinch of salt and 1 1/2 cups of water to the caramelized onions. Turn heat to low, and bring mixture back to a simmer. Cover for 10 minutes or until the squash is soft.
Remove 1 1/2 cups of the cooked butternut squash (this will get remixed in later) and add heavy cream.
Using an immersion blender, blend butternut squash mixture and cream until smooth and creamy. Turn heat back to medium, and let the sauce continue to cook and reduce for a few minutes.
Stir in the cheese one handful at a time, stirring between each addition, until smooth and creamy. Add mustard and about 1 tsp salt, then season with pepper. Adjust to taste.
Stir in reserved bacon and butternut squash, and combine. Add cooked pasta and season to taste one more time.
For the Crispy Sage Crust:
Add butter to a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add sage leaves and toast until fragrant, about one minute.
Add panko breadcrumbs, and stir continuously until toasted and golden brown. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed.
Pour toasted sage topping on top of the mac and cheese, then serve!