This macaroni and cheese recipe is special, and not just because there's caramelized onion and slow-roasted butternut squash in here. It's baked in cute little paper cups, so everybody gets a corner piece. Think of it as epicurean egalitarianism. Satiating socialism. Progressive pastries. I'm going where no recipe developer has gone before; I'm messing with mac n cheese. Like a lot.

If you're a traditionalist when it comes to mac and cheese, I don't advise you look any further. This is a judgement-free zone, and I need you to understand there are going to be vegetables in this mac and cheese. 

Butternut squash being the magical winter squash that it is, adds a very delicate sweetness to this mac and cheese, and makes it oh-so-thick. Caramelized onions have become a staple in my macaroni and cheese, because its like automatically indulgent that way. And for the sage and butter breadcrumbs? These are new to me, but I wanted something pretty and aromatic, because after all, I'm a high-key super-extra Taurus and I was bringing these to a party.  

You need about 2 hours to take this recipe from start to finish. It will make 36 macaroni and cheese cups! 


  • 1 whole butternut squash
  • 1 16-oz box elbow macaroni
  • 1 finely diced medium sweet onion
  • 1 1/2 c stick of butter
  • 1 c panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 c chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 1/2 c half and half
  • 2 c mozzarella cheese (part-skim)
  • 2 c white cheddar
  • 1/2 c parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp djion mustard
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tbsp salt 


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 
  2. Peel and dice the squash into 1-inch chunks and roast for 45 minutes on a greased sheet pan. 
  3. While the squash is roasting, begin caramelizing the diced onion on medium-low, adding water to the pan if the onions stick (this process can take up to 45 minutes)
  4. In a small saute pan, melt 2 tbsp of butter. Stir in the panko crumbs, the chopped sage leaves, and garlic together until they become golden brown and toasty. Set aside.
  5. In a large stock pot, bring 3-4 quarts of water to a boil with the salt. Boil the macaroni noodles for 5-7 minutes, drain, set aside. You want them al-dente! Do not overcook them! 
  6. When the squash is done roasting and the onions are done caramelizing, puree them with an immersion blender in a bowl or with a hand mixer.
  7. In a large sauce pan, melt the remaining 6 tbsp of butter on high.
  8. Whisk in the flour until you get a thick mixture, then pour in the half and half. Let it boil for a minute until you have a thick sauce then turn the heat down to simmer.
  9. Stir in the cheeses, mustard, white pepper, and squash and onion puree. Turn off the heat.
  10. Combine the cheese mixture with the noodles and pour into the paper cups. Top with bread crumb mixture. Bake on 425 for 20-25 minutes. Enjoy them immediately! 

PS: You can put any mac and cheese recipe in tiny paper cups, not just this one!