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Butternut Squash 6

Happy October, loves! Another month has passed us by, and we are now catapulting headfirst into October, the month of horrifyingly scary things and lots of orange, orange, orange! {Can you tell I’m not the biggest Halloween fan? Easily spooked.} But with the arrival of the new month comes what has now become one of my favorite things: a new Friends First post!

JuliaToday I am introducing you to another one of my Chicago blogging buddies: the beautiful Julia of A Cedar Spoon! I had the pleasure of meeting Julia in person not too long ago, and I promise that she is just as sweet and kind-hearted as she seems online. Julia is a Chicago native who, much like me, grew up helping her family in the kitchen – although while I grew up on Southern comfort foods, she grew up on Middle Eastern cuisine, which she often shares with her readers. Julia is also a wife and mother to a 2-year-old boy, and is expecting her second son in February {all you women send her some sympathetic vibes…she’s totally outnumbered by men!}. She loves her fruits and veggies, and is always sharing great ways to sneak some into every meal, including the recipe she is sharing with you today!


Hi Eat Your Heart Out readers! My name is Julia and I am the cook over at A Cedar Spoon —a blog sharing mostly healthy recipes using local, seasonal ingredients.  I was so excited when Stephie invited me to post for her Friends First Series! Stephie and I are both lucky enough to call Chicago home—all the wonderful museums, beautiful sites and of course the food and restaurants!  We were lucky enough to meet recently over some pretty delicious Mexican food and I was drawn instantly to her bubbly, warm personality.

Since I started reading Stephie’s blog she has inspired me to become a better baker!  Her breads and pastries are just beautiful and definitely not my strong suit when it comes to cooking. Even though I may not be the best baker out there, I can whip up a bowl of hummus or a delicious pasta meal.

Speaking of pasta dishes, today’s dish I am sharing is Roasted Butternut Squash and Sage Mac & Cheese.  It involves not only pasta but three ingredients I love to cook with in the fall.  This is the time of year you will start seeing squash at the farmers market or your local grocer and might be trying to come up with a recipe to use it in—look no further!

I don’t know about you, but when the weather starts to cool off and the air turns crisp I get a craving for mac & cheese (I am sure it has nothing to do with being pregnant). This dish reminds me of a good bowl of mac & cheese but with the sweetness of roasted butternut squash, paired with crisp sage. Butternut squash not only tastes yummy but it is healthy for you and of course balances out all that cheese you are about to eat.  I used fontina (sometimes called fontinella) cheese in this dish but you could substitute your favorite cheese, whatever you have on hand, or even use a few different cheeses.

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we did and enjoy everything that fall has to offer!

Butternut Squash

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light.

Butternut Squash and Sage Mac & Cheese
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • pepper
  • 8 oz. dried cavatappi pasta (or pasta of your choice)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
  • 1 cup fat free milk
  • 6 oz. fontina cheese (fontinella), shredded
  • 10 sage leaves
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish and set aside.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl mix together butternut squash, a few drizzle of olive oil (enough to coat the squash), and a few dashes of salt and pepper. Mix well.
  4. Spread the butternut squash over the baking sheet and roast in oven for 25 minutes turning once half way through.
  5. Meanwhile cook pasta until al dente, drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.
  6. In a medium saucepan heat 1 Tbsp. of butter on medium heat. Add sage leaves and gently stir until they begin to crisp (be careful not allow them to burn). Chop the sage leaves once done cooking and set aside on plate.
  7. In the same medium saucepan on medium-high heat 1 Tbsp. butter. Add flour and milk and a dash of salt and pepper and whisk constantly until it turns into a thick and bubbly mixture. Remove from heat (make sure not to let it burn).
  8. Remove the butternut squash from the oven and put in a large mixing bowl and mash gently with the back of the fork. Add the flour and milk mixture, pasta and sage leaves and stir.
  9. In the 2 quart baking dish put half of the pasta mixture and sprinkle a layer of fontina cheese. Add remaining pasta mixture and another layer of cheese.
  10. Bake in the oven uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes.
  11. Serve pasta alongside crusty bread, a fresh fall vegetables and a side salad. Enjoy!

Thanks, Julia! Be sure to follow A Cedar Spoon on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest so that you never miss a single delicious post.


  1. Yay! Friends First day! I love that you have so many Julia(e)s and Steph(f)s as blogging friends. I think it’s a sign. You know that I love this post. I mean, pasta and butternut squash and cheese? Once we can get back on the milk bandwagon, I’ll make it for us.

    1. All of us Julia(e)s and Steph(f)s should start a shared blog called…Julia(e) and Steph(f) Eat Lots of Really Great Food….yeah, still working on the title. Anyway, I’m sending out every Julia(e) and Steph(f) a high five right now. Yours should arrive shortly 😉

  2. Yeaaah! I love Julia from Cedar Spoon! She has some amazing recipes! This butternut squash mac n cheese is insaaaanity! There’s something about mac n cheese and sage that just goes…ugh! So good! Thanks Julia and Stephie!

    1. And I JUST so happen to have sage and butternut squash in my kitchen right now. Coincidence? Yeah, probably. But I’ll say it’s fate anyway! Hunger fate!

  3. Nice to see you here, Julia! I actually love Halloween! It’s one of my favorite holidays…weird? And I I love butternut squash. I just wish it were easier to peel and dice. Because this needs to be made. Often.

    1. Actually, not that weird at all to me. I may not care much for it, but it is my grandmother’s favorite holiday. She goes ALL out with the decorating. As for the butternut squash, I hear rumor that Trader Joe’s has pre-diced butternut squash in their produce section. Maybe check your local grocery store (TJ’s or maybe another nicer store?) and double-check that they don’t have anything like that. I know I will because I nearly cut off a limb every time I try to cut/peel squash. Danger, Will Robinson.

      1. Lol. My local market does carry it pre-cut. It’s pricey, but one of the few things I’m willing to spend a little more on. My house is fully decorated for Halloween, too. And I might on occasion dress up the dogs. Maybe.

  4. Oh YUM! I am such a mac and cheese fiend. Lovely to meet the beautiful face behind Cedar Spoon, yet another blog that I haven’t had the pleasure of reading yet! Heading over there now (my husband is going to drool over this recipe!) xxx

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