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40 mins

Mac & Cheese, Please!
Serves 6

Ravioli with butternut squash, brown butter, and sage has become a classic fall pasta combination in many upscale restaurants. So why not take it down-home and fold that delectable flavor combination into a mac & cheese? This recipe is a true winner and a dish that your friends and family will love you for, whether you serve it in winter, spring, summer, or fall.

Posted by Andrews McMeel Published See Andrews McMeel's 48 projects » © 2023 Laura Werlin / Andrews McMeel Publishing · Reproduced with permission. · —From Mac & Cheese, Please, 50 Super Cheesy Recipes, by Laura Werlin, Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC
  • Step 1

    Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Butter an 8-inch square (1½-quart) baking dish or pan (or six 8-ounce ramekins). Set aside.

  • Step 2

    Fill a 4- to 5-quart pot about three-quarters full with water and add 1 tablespoon of the salt. Bring to a boil and add the pasta. Cook, stirring once or twice, until tender but firm, 4 to 6 minutes, and drain. Reserve the pot.

  • Step 3

    In a medium skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter. Turn off the heat and add the bread crumbs and 1 cup of the pecorino. Stir to combine. Transfer to a small bowl and wipe out but do not wash the skillet.

  • Step 4

    Line a small plate with paper towels. Using the same skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat and cook just until it’s starting to brown. Add the whole sage leaves and cook until the leaves are crisp and just beginning to darken, about 45 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat. Using tongs, transfer the leaves to the paper towel–lined plate and reserve both the leaves and the butter.

  • Step 5

    Using the same pot you used to cook the pasta, combine the squash, milk, cream, and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and the reserved sage butter. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally and watching to make sure the cream mixture does not boil. Simmer the squash until it is very soft, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool slightly. Place about half of the mixture in a blender or food processor and puree. Put the puree back into the pot and repeat with the remaining squash. Add the Gruyère, the remaining pecorino, the chopped sage, and the cayenne to the pureed squash mixture and stir until the cheese has melted (the heat of the squash mixture should melt it). Add the pasta and stir to combine.

  • Step 6

    Pour into the prepared baking dish, sprinkle with the bread crumb mixture, and place the fried sage leaves in a decorative pattern on top. Place the dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until the mixture is brown and bubbly. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

    Pancetta: Cut a 4-ounce piece of pancetta into 1-inch long and ¼-inch wide “sticks” or batons. Place in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, and cook until the edges are browned and the pancetta is crisp. Using a slotted spoon, add to the cheese sauce along with the pasta.

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