Test Kitchen Favorite: Butternut Squash Mac n’ Cheese with Kale
Our twist on classic mac n’ cheese takes the beloved favorite and makes it autumn-ready with the addition of butternut squash and hearty dinosaur kale.
Given the abundance of menu options, it can be hard to pick a favorite recipe each week, but luckily we’ve got a knowledgeable crew in the office to help out. Every Thursday we’ll be publishing a “Test Kitchen Favorite” recipe—an item the culinary team and Plated staff particularly enjoyed.
This week, here’s the recipe for the Butternut Squash Mac n ‘ Cheese with Kale.
Our twist on classic mac n’ cheese takes the beloved favorite and makes it autumn-ready with the addition of butternut squash and hearty dinosaur kale—a variety named for its variegated texture.
Starchy pasta cooking water will give your sauce a perfect consistency and help it to cling to the noodles. You may need more than you think. Keep adding it until the sauce is silky.
2 cups butternut squash cubes
2 cloves garlic
1 yellow onion
2 sprigs sage
6 ounces dinosaur kale
8 ounces whole-grain trumpet pasta
2 packets butter
½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons grated pecorino cheese
¼ cup whole milk
1. Boil Squash
Place squash in a large pot and fill with cold water. Add a generous pinch salt
and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until very tender when pierced with a
knife tip, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a large bowl and set aside, reserving water in pot.
2. Prepare Ingredients
While squash boils, mince garlic. Peel onion and cut into small dice. Roughly
chop sage leaves, discarding stems.Rinse kale and tear into bite-size pieces, discarding stems.
3. Cook Trumpet Pasta
Add trumpet pasta and a generous pinch salt to pot of boiling water from squash and cook until al dente, 4–5 minutes. Reserve ¼ cup pasta cooking water, then drain and set aside.
4. Sauté Vegetables
While trumpet pasta cooks, heat butter in a large pan over medium-high heat. When butter is foamy, add garlic, onion, and sage and sauté, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Add kale and sauté, stirring, until softening, 1–2 minutes. Add boiled squash and cook, mashing against side of pan with the back of a spoon, 1–2 minutes more. Remove pan from heat.
5. Season Mac n’ Cheese
Add cheeses, milk, and trumpet pasta to pan with vegetables and stir until ingredients are combined and cheese is melted. Add reserved pasta cooking water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until sauce is thick and clings to noodles (see Recipe Tip). Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
6. Plate Mac n’ Cheese
That’s it! Enjoy your mac ‘n cheese while it’s hot.
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