So, when I started to make this recipe, I was a little skeptical because I had never actually eaten a butternut squash macaroni or pasta before (besides a ravioli). The goal was to make a creamy velvety smooth sauce and that my friends, is exactly what happened (yay!). I mean once you throw in like three different cheeses, you can’t really go wrong, right?
My main piece of advice for this dish: please please whatever you do, do NOT skip the panko step. Don’t be lazy! If you don’t have panko, get off your butt and go get some or make some or ask your neighbor for some (unless you have a weird creepy neighbor- don’t do that to yourself). Basically, moral of the story is to get panko.
If you want to make this heartier-some crumbled sausage (like the fennel kind or even a spicy Italian) would be bangin’.
Butternut Squash Rigatoni
Yield 5 people
- 2 pounds butternut squash, seeded (mine yielded 2 cups cooked)
- 4 cups rigatoni, cooked al dente
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 Onion, diced small
- 2 poblano peppers, diced small
- 1 tablespoon. minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup white cheddar, shredded (I used Vermont White)
- 1 cup monterey jack, shredded
- ¼ cup cream cheese
For the Fennel Panko:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup Panko
- 1 ½ teaspoons fennel powder
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place the butternut squash, cut side down on a baking sheet. Drizzle the squash with olive oil and season with salt + pepper.
- Transfer to the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the squash is fork tender. Remove from the oven and let cool.
- Once cool, use a spoon to remove & discard the seeds from the roasted squash.
- Scoop the flesh from the squash and add it to a blender or food processor. Add milk, cumin, cayenne, salt & pepper to the squash. Pulse until completely smooth.
- In a separate pot, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium high heat and add the diced onions and poblano peppers. Cook until just softened.
- Add garlic and cook just until garlic is fragrant, do not let garlic brown. 2-3 minutes.
- Pour the butternut squash sauce over the onion and pepper mix and stir well.
- Add the remaining cheeses and stir to incorporate until sauce is creamy.
- Transfer rigatoni to oven safe baking dish, top with prepared panko and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat and add panko & fennel powder until panko is golden & crisp.