Autumn Comfort MacAutumn Comfort Mac uses butternut squash, pancetta, cavatappi and a variety of cheeses. Serve it in ramekins as a first course, or large plates as a main dish.




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June 2008
Updated March 2009

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Pasta

Gourmet Macaroni And Cheese Recipes

Award-Winning Mac & Cheese So Good, You’ll Want To Throw A Party To Make Each Recipe


Each year, we publish an incredible collection of award-winning macaroni and cheese recipes from Tillamook’s annual competition. We’re thrilled to present the 2007 winners. If you have a recipe that’s a national contender, check with Tillamook Cheese for the next date and competition rules.

Each award-winning recipe is on a separate page. Use the index to click among them. When you’re done with these, check out the 2006 winners and the 2008 winners. And enjoy!




In fact, most award-winning recipes use other shapes.
See the different pasta shapes in our


Autumn Comfort Mac Recipe

This recipe was created by Veronica Vadakan, the Portland Regional 2007 Winner and and First Runner Up in the 2008 Grand Finale.


  • 1 butternut squash (approximately 2 pounds), peeled and cubed into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 12 ounces cavatappi* pasta
    *Cavatappi are short (1-inch) tubular corkscrew or spiral-shaped pasta, native to southern Italy.
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups Tuscan blend shredded cheese mix
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons fresh-chopped sage
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted sweet cream butter
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons fresh chopped sage
  • 1/2 cup Tuscan blend shredded cheese mix


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. In a large bowl, toss butternut squash pieces with olive oil. Spread squash pieces in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring once halfway. Remove when squash is tender and caramel brown. Set aside and reduce oven heat to 350°F.
  3. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add cavatappi and cook approximately 8 minutes or until al dente. Drain well.
  4. On the stovetop, cook the pancetta over medium heat in a skillet for 6 minutes. Add shallots and cook 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.
  5. In a 2-quart sauce pan, melt butter. Add flour and, stirring constantly, cook approximately 2 minutes or until golden brown. Add milk and cream in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until smooth. Stir in 2 cups of cheese and stir until melted. Remove from heat. Stir in 1-1/2 tablespoons of chopped sage. Add 1 teaspoon black pepper, or add to taste.
  6. Mix cooked cavatappi, cheese sauce and pancetta together in a large bowl. Gently fold in roasted butternut squash and crumbled goat cheese. Pour into a lightly greased 9" x 13" baking pan.
  7. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in the microwave in a large glass bowl. Stir in sage, cheese and bread crumbs. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta mixture in the pan.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is bubbling.
  9. Turn on broiler and move pan to the top rack of the oven. Brown for 3 minutes or until golden brown.
  10. Remove from oven and wait 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle each serving with minced fresh sage, if desired.

NEXT RECIPE: Jumbo Shell Pasta Stuffed With White Cheddar & Chicken

Recipe and images copyright Tillamook. Other material Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved.