Acorn Squash Macaroni and Cheese | Karma, Fall, and Food

Seattle Food blog Acorn Squash Macaroni and Cheese

I am nursing a burnt lip right now. It’s not anything that would send me to the hospital, but it stings a bit. But please understand I am not looking for sympathy. I deserve this. It’s karma. K was out for the evening and it’s a rare event to find myself alone in the kitchen.  With no one around, I caved. I cooked pasta. It seemed too easy.  The package called out from the cupboard and lured me into a quick meal.

So intent was I on eating the forbidden fruit that I popped a noodle into my mouth without noticing it was glistening with boiling water.

I won’t lie. This was not smart and, of course, it hurt.  However, I am choosing to look at this minor injury as a reminder. I must be patient. I must be patient with my diet restrictions during the home stretch before the arrival of my little bun. It’s worth it. I know it is.

Again, I pledge to steer clear of carbohydrate temptations for the time being. I can do it. However, I do not recommend this for everyone.  You should absolutely take a different path. Yours will be a path paved with buttery noodles and pizza. Do it for me. Enjoy yourself. Fall is the perfect time for such things.  As the weather cools, bread and large plates of starch seem abundantly appropriate. They hit the spot and warm you up from your head right down to your dainty toes.

In this spirit, I am sharing a recipe for macaroni and cheese. It’s not your traditional macaroni and cheese, but it’s a fabulous autumnal twist on the old classic. Don’t worry. I didn’t go so far as to bake this for myself this week, but it’s something appropriate for the season that is worth sharing with all of you.

acorn squash macaroni and cheese

Acorn squqsh macaroni and cheese

And, if you enjoy acorn squash, I think you’ll like the earthy quality it adds to the classic macaroni and cheese. Moreover, it’s a decent method for hiding squash. A child might overlook the squash and only have eyes for the cheesy mass of noodles. I am hopeful this is the case, at least. Let me know. Eat. Enjoy. And promise to blow on your steamy forkful before you inhale this acorn squash macaroni and cheese.

acorn squash macaroni and cheese

Roasted Acorn Squash Macaroni and Cheese

1 lb. rigatoni (penne, or elbows)
1 lb acorn squash
4 cups lowfat organic milk
6 tblsp. flour
5 tblsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp. smoked paprika
kosher salt, sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
8 oz. aged white cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the acorn squash into 2 halves. Remove the seeds and membrane. Divide 1 tablespoon of the butter and set inside each cavity. Rub the cavities with a spot of sea salt and place into the oven to roast for about 45 minutes or until tender.

Remove the squash from the oven. Set aside to cool. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees.

Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook at a rolling boil until just tender. Drain. Rinse. Set aside.

Chop the squash into bite size pieces being careful to avoid any skin.

Bring the milk to just a boil in a heavy saucepan. Set aside.

Melt the butter in another pan. Add the flour and whisk over low heat for about 5 minutes. Do not brown. Remove from the heat.

Add the butter mixture to the milk and whisk well to get rid of lumps. Add 1/2 tsp of paprika. Season with salt and pepper. Return to heat. Cook the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly until it’s smooth and it thickens, about 5 minutes.

Add milk mixture to the pasta and coat. Mix in squash pieces as well. Pour into a 9 x 12 baking dish. Spread the grated cheese over the top of the pasta mixture. Sprinkle the top with the remaining paprika.

Bake for 25 minutes. Then, place the dish under the broiler (about 4 inches away from heat) and cook for another 3-4 minutes until slightly golden.

Serve warm.

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  • October 25, 2010 - | Permalink

    So sorry to hear about your lip; but you’re in the home stretch and will soon be able to join us carb eaters in our fall and winter indulgences!

    Home stretch!!


  • October 25, 2010 - | Permalink

    I LOVE your posts. I’m so excited to make this. And I love the story behind it (although not the burnt lip part).

  • October 25, 2010 - | Permalink

    After a long day at work, this is exactly what I need to be eating tonight. Sounds amazing.

  • October 25, 2010 - | Permalink

    Ok Robin, I guess I just have to park myself on your blog and wait, with paper and pen at the ready, for each new post. I haven’t seen one thing yet that doesn’t look and sound yummy. Now, if I could just find the time to actually MAKE some of this wonderful food. ;-)

  • October 26, 2010 - | Permalink

    This looks fantastic. I just made a cauliflower mac and cheese but this looks so much better. Plus much more in season.

    Sorry you are cutting back on the carbs now but I have a teeny tiny feeling that it is worth it :-)

  • October 26, 2010 - | Permalink

    Darn if I have not done that same thing! Man o mister that is a sore one! I guess I knew that I would need to eat some carbs for you tonight, peppery ginger snaps coming out of the oven right now. Take care.

  • October 26, 2010 - | Permalink

    Robin, this sounds and looks way too amazing not to dig into! How did you resist?! I understand the carb issue though, as I had GD in my first pregnancy and now I am pregnant again (I found out in August and was quite sick through most of my first trimester – sorry I have not been commenting, but I have read and loved each of your posts ( : ) and watching my carbs – so much deprivation! I think I am going to have to make this regardless of the carbs – I am drooling!

  • October 26, 2010 - | Permalink

    you know this is just training wheels for getting squash into that little upcoming biscuit?

    no luck yet on my end, but this seems as good a tactic as any!

    yummy yum yum.

  • October 26, 2010 - | Permalink

    This sounds amazing! Will be making this week.

  • October 25, 2010 - | Permalink

    only a couple more months and you can enjoy warm breads and pastas and…to your hearts desire. I have to remind myself this, too, when I am missing out on little things I’ve given up for the moment. and they are such little things when you think about how big this ‘thing’ is. :)

  • October 25, 2010 - | Permalink

    A splendid Macaroni Cheese! So comforting and delicious. That combo is terrific.



  • Cheryl
    October 26, 2010 - | Permalink

    WOW i think i have the exact same plate as you in the last photo!! Sorry, but i just had to comment on this! :P hope your lip gets better soon!

  • October 26, 2010 - | Permalink

    Oh no! Hope your lip gets better soon and that you can be enjoying this amazing dish with your little baby! :)

  • October 26, 2010 - | Permalink

    I have deitary restrictions too…it is called “a picky family”. They would hurt me if I snuck any of that beautiful acorn into their food, so I will just have to suffer alongside you and live vicariously through your other readers. I made your zucchini quiche, and while it was fabulous, I ended up eating a great deal of it by myself…my waist line can not handle that. Oh well. :)

  • October 26, 2010 - | Permalink

    Great use of squash. I never considered it before. Can’t wait to try it!

  • October 26, 2010 - | Permalink

    I love acorn squash! Never thought to put in in my macaroni, but I like the idea, will have to try soon! You should try and freeze some and enjoy it after baby has come. Hope your lip feels better soon.

  • October 26, 2010 - | Permalink

    Yet another fab squash recipe!

  • October 26, 2010 - | Permalink

    This looks so good; honestly I don’t know how you’re doing it! I’m not even pregnant and I wouldn’t be able to resist dipping my fork in and having a bite! So that’s settled I’m making this for dinner ASAP. Hope your lip feels better soon, nothing worse than a burn on your lip or in your mouth! :(

  • October 26, 2010 - | Permalink

    I love adding virtue to mac and cheese by slipping in some vegetables. Roasted squash sounds like a great choice. Looks delicious!

  • October 26, 2010 - | Permalink

    mmmm macaroni and cheese + acorn squash is a combo that would put me in dinner heaven! Thanks for sharing even if you’re not partaking.

  • October 26, 2010 - | Permalink

    That looks delicious! Many a time has the pasta temptation caused me to burn my mouth with boiling water – penne, especially, is sneaky like that.

    I’m trying to figure out why karma has paired me with a man who does not like melted cheese (unless it’s on a parmesean) OR squash! I would like nothing better than to combine the two into one big, ozzy, earthy dish.

    As for cloaking veggies in mac and cheese, my friend is married to someone who treats his food as if he were a four year old and I successfully cloaked cauliflower in mac and cheese. He didn’t know until after when he told us how delicious it was.

  • October 26, 2010 - | Permalink

    Oh man. Sorry about the lip. I do that all the time. I love the idea of adding squash to this dish! And I love that steamy shot!

  • October 26, 2010 - | Permalink

    oy. it’s tough to stay away from comfort food + satrchy love this time of year. but you + baby will be better for it and when time comes, all shall return in modersation. i love squash of all sorts. must try this next time i’m craving mac + cheese. trust that i like unconventional mac + cheese the best! : )

  • October 26, 2010 - | Permalink

    You are so good to us, Robin! To go to the trouble of creating such a tantalizing, carb-heavy dish for our sake when you are not even able to partake… Are you sure you aren’t already a mother? I just printed out this recipe and handed it to husband. I’m not sure why, but he’s usually in charge of baked pasta dishes around here (lasagna, tuna casserole, etc). We have an acorn squash on the counter, and now I know just what to do with it. Well, just what Eli should do with it. (Conveniently, he’s with me on this.) It’ll go down this weekend, I think, and I can’t wait. I’ll be sure to report back.

  • October 26, 2010 - | Permalink

    Who can resist a macaroni and cheese?! Way to make it seasonally relevant with the acorn squash. It’s 9:46 PM on a Tuesday night… and I have to restrain myself from making a batch TONIGHT!!! Delicious. [K]

  • October 26, 2010 - | Permalink

    made this tonight with a couple substitutions (didn’t have macaroni, so i used whole wheat spaghetti. didn’t have acorn squash, used delicata) and it was AMAZING. thanks for this recipe!

  • October 27, 2010 - | Permalink

    I promise. I love the dish you baked it in.

  • October 27, 2010 - | Permalink

    Oh my, this looks very good.

  • October 27, 2010 - | Permalink

    Wow Robin, this looks so delicious. I love the idea of acorn squash with cheese-that sounds so wonderful! Ooh, and sorry about your lip. That’s no fun. The good thing is a hurt lip or tongue usually heals quite a bit during sleep. Hope so…

  • October 27, 2010 - | Permalink

    Comfort food heaven! Definitely adding this to the “must make” list! :)

  • October 27, 2010 - | Permalink

    your poor lip!!! i would have probably done the same thing.

  • October 29, 2010 - | Permalink

    This is very similar to the butternut squash macaroni and cheese I made a few weeks ago, and I hope equally as delicious. As for the lip, ouch, but also the cook’s bane. Alas.



  • October 29, 2010 - | Permalink

    I’ve heard of adding veggies to mac & cheese before, but no one has ever made it look so appealing as you. Love the warm, homey feel of all your photos.

  • November 1, 2010 - | Permalink

    What a good idea! Not only would acorn squash add autumnal richness, but also so many extra nutrients! You’ll be back to pasta in no time, just think about how good it will be! I hope the Bun is treating you well.

  • November 2, 2010 - | Permalink

    Hi, Robin. So, we made this decadent dish on Saturday night, and I’m saving the last few bites for Eli to finish off when he gets home from work tonight. (Obviously, I love him very much.) It was great. The only thing that we would do differently next time is to up the amount of acorn squash. We think we might even double it, and use two whole acorn squashes for the 1 pound of pasta. Thanks for a great recipe.

  • November 3, 2010 - | Permalink

    I made this last night, it turned out great! I blogged about it today and gave you credit. Thanks!

  • November 3, 2010 - | Permalink

    We’ve been having such fun with macaroni and cheese lately. Adding roasted acorn squash makes it full of the flavors of the season. Even it’s golden color says fall. Can’t wait to try this for my family and to share it with our cheddar fans!

  • November 3, 2010 - | Permalink

    robin, this looks amazing. i think i will try it next week. can’t wait! sorry about your lip. maybe try brown rice pasta next time? i know, so not the same.

  • November 4, 2010 - | Permalink

    I love the white cheddar in this– great combination! Thank you for sharing.

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  • Claire
    March 20, 2011 - | Permalink

    I’m going to make this for my 1 year old, it looks very tasty! Thanks :)

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  • Candace
    January 22, 2012 - | Permalink

    Just made this dish. I had just recently joined a co-op and in the delivery were three baby acorn squash. Having no idea what to do with them I came across your recipe. It’s absolutely delicious. I did use the baby acorns and it was the perfect amount to substitute one large one. I also opted for mozzarella cheese and it tastes just as amazing. Thank you for this! I do have a picture if anyone wants it :)

    • redmenace
      January 22, 2012 - | Permalink

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for your sweet note!

  • Taylor
    October 25, 2012 - | Permalink

    Thank you for the inspiration! I’m cutting the recipe in half (just two of us) and adding crispy pancetta and sauteed leeks!

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