Recipe: Kari’s Butternut & Romanesco Mac n’ Cheese

Recipe: Kari’s Butternut & Romanesco Mac n’ Cheese

  • posted on: December 1, 2020
  • posted by: Kari Fetrow
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Happy almost-Winter! I just love this season, even though it’s colder than I’d like, the holiday warmth and cheer is enough to keep me content until those magical spring months — especially when I make tasty comfort foods for my family. I recently made a hyper-local mac n’ cheese for the 21 Acres Deli and I’ve gotten so many requests to share the recipe, I thought I’d do that here. I’d like to add that my recipe does not use a roux, which a LOT of classic mac n’ cheese recipes do, so don’t be scared! I find mac n’ cheese with roux to be too grainy, and texturally, just not to my liking; Instead, I find that using heavy cream and more cheese makes up for this and it doesn’t lose anything by not having the roux. I hope you all enjoy it and maybe this mac n’ cheese can find its way onto your dinner table during these cold months. Happy Holidays from everyone here at 21 Acres! 

Kari’s Butternut Mac



1 – 8oz. Jar Cherry Valley Dairy heavy cream
1 cup Cherry Valley or TUNaWERTH whole milk
2 tbsp Cherry Valley Dairy ghee
8 oz. Cherry Valley Dairy wigwam cheese (half of the wedge), shredded
¼ lb. Golden Glen Creamery medium cheddar (I would just use the entire package), shredded
¼ lb. Golden Glen Creamery Judy’s parm (use the entire package here too), shredded
2 lbs. Bellingham Pasta Co.’s Penne, Fusilli, or Gemelli pasta
1 large butternut squash, cut in half, seeded, and roasted until soft
2 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 sprigs of thyme
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of cayenne
Salt + pepper
*½ lb. Roasted romanesco, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, the brassica of your choice!, cut into bite sized pieces
*chicken or veggie stock, but only if needed to thin out your cheese mixture. 


Preheat an oven to 400°F. Remove the ends of the butternut squash and cut in half. Remove the seeds. Rub the squash with oil or ghee and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then place on a roasting pan flesh down and roast until the skin of the squash is soft to the touch, about 30-40 minutes. Roast your cut up romanesco, broccoli, etc. here. Toss with a little oil, salt, and pepper and roast for 15 minutes. While the squash is cooking, shred the cheeses and cook the pasta in super salty water. 

When the squash is out of the oven and cooling, add the ghee to a medium sized dutch oven over medium heat on the stove. Add the minced garlic and the thyme sprigs. Saute these for 2-3 minutes. Discard the thyme sprigs. Bring the temperature down to medium-low and add the milk and heavy cream. Heat for 4 minutes. Add the cheeses and stir until they are completely dissolved. (If the mixture is too thick add some chicken stock here.) Turn the heat off. 

Remove the flesh of the squash from the skin into a bowl. Using a whisk smash the squash until it is creamy (I usually do this with my food processor in the 21 Acres Kitchen). 

Add the squash to the cheese mixture, stir. (If the mixture is too thick add some chicken stock here too.) Add the nutmeg, cayenne, and pepper. Taste and add more spice as needed. Add the pasta, stir and serve. Or if you want to be a little extra add some garlic toasted breadcrumbs on top. Recipe below!

Bonus Recipe:
Garlic Breadcrumb Topping

1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp ghee or butter

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and garlic. Saute for 1 min. Add the breadcrumbs and stir constantly until golden brown, it will take about 3-5 minutes.

*Note: I make these breadcrumbs for many dishes, any casserole, meatloaf, or tomato soup topping.