Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese with a Crunchy Breadcrumb Topping

Recipe courtesy of Chef Yury Krasilovsky.

3 pounds Barilla Elbows
6 cups butternut squash, diced
1 1/2 sticks butter
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3/4 cup flour
3 quarts 2% milk
1 1/2 pounds shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded smoked gouda cheese
Salt & white pepper, to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cups panko
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  1. In a large pot boil half the butternut squash until fully cooked, let cool, then process in a blender with enough cooking liquid to make a puree.
  2. In a pre-heated 425°F oven roast the remaining butternut squash with olive oil until golden brown and fully cooked.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large sauce pot sauté garlic in butter until slightly yellow in color. Add flour and make a roux, cook for about 3 minutes on medium heat. Add warm milk and bring to a simmer, let simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add butternut squash puree then remove from heat and add cheddar and smoked gouda slowly to incorporate.
  5. In a bowl combine the panko and thyme then place into a large skillet with olive oil, toast for 5 minutes or until slightly browned.
  6. Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain 1 minute under required cooking time and toss with the sauce.
  7. Top with squash and bread crumbs.