wine night: butternut and bacon mac & cheese

Happy Wine Night friends!
Feels like forever since my last Wine Night post since last Thursday I was in bed sick.

But Wine Night is BACK and better than ever with this seasonal and delicious meal.
Seriously, it's like fall in your mouth (gross?).  
Put on your sweatpants, grab a blanket, and cozy up with a plate of this goodness. 
We had it with a Malbec, but it would be great with a Chardonnay as well. 

Butternut and Bacon Mac & Cheese
Adapted from:  Cooking Light March 2004
Serves:  6


  • 4 C. cubed and peeled butternut squash (I bout the pre-cubed stuff from Fresh Direct. Easy!)
  • 1 t. kosher salt, divided
  • 3/4 t. dried rosemary
  • 1/2 t. black pepper
  • 3/4 t. light brown sugar
  • cooking spray
  • 8 slices hickory-smoked bacon (raw),diced
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 14 oz. whole what penne (or elbows would be cute)
  • 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
  • 3 C. skim milk (or use 2%, half and half etc for a richer cheese sauce)
  • 1/2 t. nutmeg, freshly grated.
  • 6 oz. shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 C. grated Parmesan (I used reduced fat)


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. 
  2. Combine 1/2 t. salt, rosemary, pepper, and brown sugar in a small bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Place squash on foil-lined baking sheet with cooking spray.  Sprinkle with spice mixture.  Bake at 425 for 30 - 45 minutes until tender and lightly browned.
  4. Increase oven to 450 degrees F.
  5. Heat a dutch oven over medium heat. Add diced bacon and cook stirring occasionally until crisp.  Remove bacon from pan to a paper-towel-lined plate.  Leave 1 1/2 t. bacon drippings in pan. 
  6. Increase heat to medium-high.  Add shallot and saute until tender, about 8 minutes.
  7. Combine bacon, shallots, and cooked squash and set aside.
  8. Cook pasta according to package directions.  Make sure to salt the water and cook just shy of al-dente.
  9. In your dutch oven, combine flour and 1/2 t. salt over medium-high heat.  Gradually add milk, whisking constantly.  Bring to a boil.  Add freshly grated nutmeg.  Cook one minute until slightly thick, stirring constantly. 
  10. Remove from heat.  Add cheese, stirring until it melts. Add cooked pasta and stir to combine.  
  11. Slowly fold in squash, shallot, and bacon mixture.
  12. Pour mixture into lightly greased 11" X 7" baking dish.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  13. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown.
Nutrition: (per serving)
Calories:  504
Carbs:  76 g
Fat:  13 g
Protein:  26 g

Hungry yet?  
Happy Wine Night!

{photos by me}
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