Creamy butternut pureé meets melty cheese in a seasonal take on a childhood favorite.
2 cups uncooked macaroni
1 tbsp butter
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
6 cups cubed butternut squash
2/3 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup milk or half & half
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used a blend of mozzarella, parmesan, and gouda)
10 sage leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a skillet over low heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sauté, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, 20-30 minutes. The onion should be deep golden, but not blackened. Set aside to cool slightly; don’t wipe down the skillet just yet, as you’ll use it to fry the sage in step 4.
Cook the macaroni according to package directions. Meanwhile, steam or boil the butternut squash for 10 minutes, until completely soft when pierced with a fork. Transfer to a blender along with the caramelized onions, milk, chicken or vegetable broth, and 1/2 tsp salt. Blend until smooth.
Adjust an oven rack to the top and preheat the broiler on high heat. Transfer the macaroni to the baking dish. (If using individually sized dishes, place them on a baking sheet first to make them easier to move in and out of the oven.) Pour in the purée and toss with the macaroni, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with shredded cheese and place under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, until bubbly and browned. Be careful not to let the cheese burn!
While the cheese browns, heat the skillet over medium. If the skillet is dry, add a little more oil or butter. Add the sage leaves and pan-fry without moving for a minute or two. The leaves should start to brown and stiffen slightly. Flip and fry for another minute or two, until nicely frizzled. The leaves should be crisp enough to crumble.
Remove the baking dish from the oven, top with crumbled sage, and serve immediately.