Mac N’ Cheese Stuffed Acorn Squash
If you’re only going to make one new dish this fall, it has to be this Gluten-Free Mac N’ Cheese Stuffed Acorn Squash!
Give Me the Mac!
If you’ve never made homemade Mac N’ Cheese, prepare yourself. Like many, I grew up on boxed macaroni pasta. It was only during special occasions that we had homemade Mac N’ Cheese. And I’ll be honest, I didn’t like it. My grandma’s homemade recipe didn’t use the signature elbow macaroni, but instead long pasta noodles. While I can’t be confident what exactly the cheese recipe was, I do think velveeta cheese may have been involved.
So, I didn’t have the best first experience with homemade Mac. BUT it can be so delicious! And this recipe proves that. This gluten-free recipe with smoked gouda and acorn squash, is the perfect side dish you need at Thanksgiving this year.
Why Homemade Mac N’ Cheese is Superior
Why should you make homemade mac n cheese? To start, the boxed version doesn’t come close to replicating the true cheese flavors. Homemade recipes utilize two to four different kinds of cheese to create a cheese sauce that is rich in flavor. Second, homemade macaroni and cheese makes a great side dish for holiday dinners or potlucks! Let’s be honest, you can’t really bring boxed Mac n’ Cheese to a party and pass it off as your own homemade recipe.
Finally, you can do so much more with homemade mac n’ cheese! From baked mac to utilizing your favorite pasta and cheeses, you can make the recipe your own. There are countless different homemade recipes out there, all unique with their own style and ingredients. From adding bacon or broccoli to serving it in acorn squash like this recipe, homemade Mac n Cheese can be customized to fit your cravings!
Let’s Start with the Acorn Squash
This recipe begins with preparing the acorn squash. First, preheat the oven and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Then, slice each squash down the middle and use a spoon to remove the seeds. Place the clean squash skin side down on the prepared baking sheet. Next, use a small bowl to whisk together olive oil, garlic powder, black pepper, salt, dried thyme, and paprika. Pour this olive oil mixture over the inside of each acorn squash to season them. Finally, flip the squash so they are skin side up and bake them for 45 minutes.
After the squash have baked, allow them to cool for about 10 minutes before using a spoon to carefully scoop out the inside of each squash. Remember to save the skin of the squash because we’re going to stuff our Mac N’ Cheese in it! Place the cooked acorn squash in a food processor, then pulse for one to two minutes until thoroughly pureed. Save one cup of the pureed acorn squash to add to the béchamel sauce.
Wondering what to do with the rest of the cooked acorn squash? There are countless ways to utilize it in your cooking! Add it to your morning oatmeal for a savory breakfast, or season chicken breasts and vegetables with it. One of my favorite ways to utilize the pureed acorn squash is by spreading it on pizza dough to make a fall pizza!
Preparing the Mac N’ Cheese
Next up, it’s time to cook our pasta. You can use whatever pasta shape you would like. While elbow pasta is often used, I used Banza’s Caratappi pasta. Personally, I think that Banza Pasta is the best gluten-free pasta because unlike other gluten-free pastas, it doesn’t get mushy once cooked.
Once you’ve picked your pasta, boil a large pot of water and then follow the package directions. When your pasta is al dente, drain the liquid and keep the cooked pasta in the pot. To prevent the pasta from sticking, add a touch of olive oil or butter. Set the cooked pasta to the side while we made the béchamel, or cheese sauce.
The Béchamel Sauce
Now it’s time to make the béchamel sauce! Béchamel sauce is made from a white roux (butter and flour) and milk. It’s also commonly thought of as a cheese sauce. So, let’s make the cheese sauce for our macaroni!
In a large saucepan, melt unsalted butter over low heat. Then whisk in the gluten-free all-purpose flour, one tablespoon at a time. It’s important to continue whisking the sauce continuously to prevent burning. After the flour has been whisked in, add the milk. Here, we’re using canned coconut milk but you can also use whole milk. Once the milk is whisked in, the béchamel sauce should be thick and coat the back of a spoon.
Next, it’s time to fold in the cheese. While, sharp cheddar is often used in mac n cheese recipes, we’re going to use a combination of smoked gouda and parmesan cheese. You can use pre shredded cheese or freshly grated, just remember to slowly fold in the cheese; so, don’t add all of the cheese at once. Adding the cheese slowly gives the sauce time to thicken.
Once the cheese has been folded in, add the pureed acorn squash. Stir in the cooked acorn squash before adding the salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and a hint of nutmeg. Finally, pour the cheese sauce over the cooked pasta. Use a spoon to evenly distribute the sauce. Then, stuff the acorn squash with the Mac n cheese. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese, smoked paprika, and chopped parsley.
Course: RecipesDifficulty: MediumServings
This acorn squash is stuffed with delicious, creamy pasta and makes a great side dish for Thanksgiving!Ingredients
- For the Acorn Squash
4 Acorn Squashes, halved and cleaned
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
- For the Mac N’ Cheese
1 box of gluten-free pasta
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons gluten-free flour
1 1/2 cups of canned coconut milk
3/4 cups of smoked Gouda cheese, grated
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, grated
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Fresh parsley, for garnish
- For the Acorn Squash
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- Cut the four acorn squashes in half, then use a spoon to remove the seeds
- Place the squashes skin side down on the prepared baking sheet
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, garlic powder, black pepper, paprika, dried thyme, and salt
- Pour the olive oil mixture over the squashes, then flip the squashes to they are skin side up
- Bake for 45 minutes, then allow to cool for 10 minutes
- Use a spoon to carefully scoop the insides of each acorn squash (do not discard the skins), then place the insides in a food processor
- Pulse for 1-2 minutes until smooth
- Save one cup of pureed acorn squash for the Mac N’ Cheese Sauce and set the rest to the side
- For the Mac N’ Cheese
- Cook the pasta according to the box instructions, then drain the liquid from the pot after the pasta has cooked thoroughly
- In a medium sized saucepan, add the butter and cook over medium-low heat
- Add the flour one tablespoons at a time, whisking continuously
- Slowly add the milk to the saucepan, whisking courteously. Make sure the béchamel thickens before adding more milk.
- Once the béchamel sauce is thick (should coat the back of a spoon), slowly fold in the cheese
- After all of the cheese has been added to the sauce, mix in the 1 cup of pureed acorn squash
- Whisk until the squash is thoroughly combined, then add the spices
- Finally, pour the cheese sauce over the cooked pasta
- Stir to thoroughly coat the pasta and evenly distributed the cheese sauce
- Use a spoon to scoop the pasta into the inside of each acorn squash
- Top with freshly grated parmesan, smoked paprika, and parsley
- Refrigerate the homemade rosemary simple syrup up to 10 days
Mac N’ Cheese Stuffed Acorn Squash
For the Acorn Squash
- 4 Acorn Squashes, halved and cleaned
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the Mac n' Cheese
- 1 box of gluten-free pasta
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons gluten-free flour
- 1 1/2 cups of canned coconut milk
- 3/4 cups of smoked Gouda cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Fresh parsley, for garnish