Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mac and Cheese Stuffed Squash

So, even though I'm back home in Minneapolis Matt is still working in San Francisco for the rest of the week which leaves me to create some single girl meals. I'm feeling a little lazy after the busy weekend so decided to see what I could make up based on what I had on hand instead of going to the grocery store. I had a little pasta, some Fontina cheese and some cream so mac & cheese made perfect sense. But I also had a lot of spinach & squash I wanted to use as well thus this dish was born.
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I know it's not that unheard of to put squash in mac and cheese but I thought why not use it as the serving dish, just for fun. (Just because I'm eating dinner alone doesn't mean the presentation isn't still important.) I figured the spinach would kick up the nutritional value to this dish since there isn't any other green vegetable in it.
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This really tasted quite good. I like the flavor of the Fontina cheese with the squash a lot. The crispiness of the top of the mac & cheese added some good texture.

Mac & Cheese Stuffed Squash

1 large acorn squash, cut in half, seeds & pulp cleaned out
4 oz elbow pasta
1/2 T unsalted butter
1/4 c onion, chopped
1 T all-purpose flour
1/3 c milk
3 T heavy cream
2 1/2 oz fontina cheese, grated
pinch of dry mustard
salt & pepper
1/2 c spinach, torn
panko

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Scrape the pulp out of the squash to create a bowl, leaving about 1/2-inch about all the sides. Save the scrapings if you want to include them in the mac & cheese or for another use. Place the squash cut side down in a baking dish & add about 1-inch of water. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain.

While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions & cook until translucent. Stir in the flour & cook for 1 minute. Turn the heat to medium-low & slowly stir in the milk & cream. Stir until hot & thickened. Add the cheese & stir until melted. Season with the mustard, salt & pepper. Stir in the spinach & squash scrapings if using. Stir the drained pasta in until coated.

Take the squash out of the oven. Pour off the water & flip over. Fill with the mac & cheese. Sprinkle panko on top. Bake for 30 minutes until the cheese is golden brown & top is crispy.

2 servings

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© 2007-2009 Kathy Lewinski

11 comments:

Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat) said...

I am crazy about mac and cheese. This looks like a definite winner! I'm bookmarking.

Ben said...

That's a great idea! I got a couple of squashes I need to use and now you've given me some ideas to work with :)

Andrea (Off Her Cork) said...

That looks fantastic! Hubs and I were just talking about mac n' cheese today and I just might have to try this out. :D

Grace said...

as someone who subsists on single girl grub, i'm ashamed that i never thought of this masterful combination. best filling ever, the end.

George Gaston said...

kat... your presentation is fantastic. Stuffing the squash with spinach and Mac & Cheese makes it a 'one pot' meal ~ brilliant!

Dawn said...

so we get a little bit of comfort food then healthy all in one meal? perfect!

Unplanned Cooking said...

Very cute. I may need to try it to introduce my kids to a "healthy" serving bowl when feeding Mac & Cheese.

Beth said...

I have a squash that I was wondering what to do with - now I know!! Sounds delish and comforting

Jessica Nunemaker said...

Oh, squash!

Sometime, some times, I just get a craving for squash (odd and bizarre, yes!).

This looks very YUM. ;)

Lori said...

Welcome back from San Fran by the way. You have been quite busy since you got back.

This is an unusual combination. I bet it was delicious. I love stuffed squash. So pretty and tastey.

Nina said...

Made this tonight for the whole fam and it was really good! I doubled the mac n cheese part for the kiddos but it was also a good way to sneak in some veggies. I used half Barilla whole grain elbows and half Barilla veggie elbows to make it so that they couldn't avoid the veggies no matter what!

I have a "lazy man" suggestion: I tried grating the cheese but it was too soft. I just glopped it in there and it still melted beautifully.

I imagine you could also make this gluten-free by adding corn starch to thicken instead of flour and gluten-free noodles. I myself am not a celiac, but I have a few in the extended family.

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