Sage + White Cheddar Mac & Cheese Stuffed Acorn Squash

Sage + White Cheddar Mac & Cheese Stuffed Acorn Squash

If you’re in need of an elegant vegetarian thanksgiving main dish, look no further than this Sage + White Cheddar Mac & Cheese Stuffed Acorn Squash. Tender roasted acorn squash stuffed with creamy sharp white cheddar mac & cheese made with fresh herbs and white wine, all topped with a buttery chopped pecan and breadcrumb topping.

Ingredients for Stuffed Acorn Squash

Stuffed Acorn Squash Ingredients:

  • Acorn Squash– a type of winter squash that is the shape of an acorn with a green/orange skin and fleshy yellow/orange interior. It has a mild, nutty flavor with a hint of sweetness, and a texture close to butternut squash. The mild flavor pairs well and balances the sharp white cheddar mac & cheese.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Rotini Pasta– a cork-screw shaped pasta that works well at catching all of the cheese sauce.
  • Salted Butter
  • Shallot– a small purple variety of onion. It has a milder, sweeter flavor than regular white onions.
  • Garlic– always.
  • Cream– half & half or whole milk. I tend to prefer half & half (a mix of cream and milk) as it is richer and creamier.
  • All-Purpose flour– this is used to make a light roux that will thicken your cheese sauce.
  • Ground Nutmeg– a warm nutty spice, close to cinnamon or all-spice in flavor. It is great at enhancing the flavor of cheese and dairy based dishes.
  • Fresh Sage– an herb that can be found in a lot of autumn and winter dishes. The flavor is earthy with hints of citrus and mint.
  • White Wine– white wine adds a much needed acidity to the mac & cheese and enhances the overall flavor.
  • Chicken Broth
  • Topping– Italian breadcrumbs, chopped pecans, fresh parsley, and a bit more butter.

Substitutions & Variations:

  • Try adding sautéed mushrooms to mac & cheese for a variety in textures.
  • For a meat-lovers version, this recipe works great with some crumbled browned sage sausage. Drain sausage of grease on a paper towel lined plate, and add to cheese sauce along with pasta.
  • For a sweet, more flavorful squash, substitute acorn squash for butternut squash.
  • For a less sharp cheese flavor, substitute half of the cheese for shredded mozzarella.
  • Smoked Gouda also works great with this recipe.
  • Other short cut pastas that are great for mac & cheese: cellentani, macaroni, radiatore, shells, and campanelle.
White Cheddar Mac & Cheese Stuffed Acorn Squash, Unbaked

Equipment Needed:

KnifeColander
Cutting BoardWhisk
9×13 Baking DishCheese Grater
Large PotCooking Utensils

How to Make Stuffed Acorn Squash:

  • Roast Acorn Squash– preheat oven to 375F. Cut acorn squash in half length-wise, and scoop out the seeds and stringy bits. Brush the interior flesh of the squash with a bit of extra virgin olive oil, a sprinkle of kosher salt, and a few cracks of pepper. Place squash cut side down on a parchment lined 9×13 baking dish and roast acorn squash for 40-45 minutes until interior flesh is tender.
  • Prepare Mac & Cheese: bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add rotini pasta and cook according to the directions on the package. Using a colander, drain pasta and set aside. In the same large pot, melt 3 tbsp of butter of medium- low heat. Add minced garlic, minced shallot, and fresh chopped sage. Cook 1-2 minutes until fragrant, stirring often. Sprinkle garlic mixture with 3 tbsp of all-purpose flour and stir until well incorporated. Slowly whisk in chicken broth, whisking out any lumps of flour. Whisk in white wine, followed by cream and ground nutmeg. Continue whisking for a few minutes until mixture has thickened slightly to the consistency of a thin-medium gravy. If mixture does not start to thicken after 2 minutes, turn heat up slightly. Remove pot from heat, and fold in grated cheese. Stir until cheese has melted. Stir in rotini pasta and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Construct and Bake: flip roasted squash over and stuffed each one with 1/4 of white cheddar mac & cheese. In a small bowl combine chopped pecans and Italian breadcrumbs. Top each squash with about 1 tbsp of pecan mixture and 1/4 tbsp pad of butter. Bake stuffed acorn squash for 15-20 minutes more. Top with finely chopped fresh parsley and a few cracks of pepper and enjoy.

Acorn Squash Leftovers:

  • Store leftover stuffed squash in an airtight container. When properly stored in the refrigerator, leftovers will last for up to 3 days. Use your best judgement when consuming leftovers. If you notice any sour smell or odd mushy texture, discard.
  • To reheat, preheat oven to 350F. Transfer leftovers to an oven safe dish, cover with a tent of foil, and bake 15-20 minutes until warmed through.
Upclose, Baked Mac & Cheese Stuffed Acorn Squash

Tips & Recipe Notes:

  • For a less sharp flavor, half of the cheese can be substituted with shredded mozzarella.
  • For an extra cheesy topping, add a bit more shredded cheese before pecan topping.

Thanksgiving Recipes You Will Also Love:

Sage and White Cheddar Mac & Cheese Stuffed Acorn Squash with Chopped Pecans

Sage + White Cheddar Mac & Cheese Stuffed Acorn Squash

An elegant vegetarian thanksgiving main dish: tender roasted acorn squash stuffed with creamy white cheddar mac & cheese, fresh herbs, white wine, and chopped pecans.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Southern
Servings 4

Equipment

  • Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • 9×13 Baking Dish
  • Large Pot
  • Colander
  • Whisk
  • Cheese Grater

Ingredients
  

  • 2 acorn squash
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups rotini pasta
  • 3 tbsp salted butter plus 1 tbsp for topping
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp minced shallot
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage finely chopped
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp white wine
  • 1 cup cream half & half or whole milk
  • 1.5 cups white cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1/4 cup pecans chopped
  • 1 tbsp Italian breadcrumbs
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • Fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Roast Acorn Squash– preheat oven to 375F. Cut acorn squash in half length-wise, and scoop out the seeds and stringy bits. Brush the interior flesh of the squash with a bit of extra virgin olive oil, a sprinkle of kosher salt, and a few cracks of pepper. Place squash cut side down on a parchment lined 9×13 baking dish and roast acorn squash for 40-45 minutes until interior flesh is tender.
  • Prepare Mac & Cheese– bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add rotini pasta and cook according to the directions on the package. Using a colander, drain pasta and set aside. In the same large pot, melt 3 tbsp of butter of medium- low heat. Add minced garlic, minced shallot, and fresh chopped sage. Cook 1-2 minutes until fragrant, stirring often. Sprinkle garlic mixture with 3 tbsp of all-purpose flour and stir until well incorporated. Slowly whisk in chicken broth, whisking out any lumps of flour. Whisk in white wine, followed by cream and ground nutmeg. Continue whisking for a few minutes until mixture has thickened slightly to the consistency of a thin-medium gravy. If mixture does not start to thicken after 2 minutes, turn heat up slightly. Remove pot from heat, and fold in grated cheese. Stir until cheese has melted. Stir in rotini pasta and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Construct and Bake– flip roasted squash over and stuffed each one with 1/4 of white cheddar mac & cheese. In a small bowl combine chopped pecans and Italian breadcrumbs. Top each squash with about 1 tbsp of pecan mixture and 1/4 tbsp pad of butter. Bake stuffed acorn squash for 15-20 minutes more. Top with finely chopped fresh parsley and a few cracks of pepper and enjoy.

Notes

  • For a less sharp flavor, half of the cheese can be substituted with shredded mozzarella.
  • For an extra cheesy topping, add a bit more shredded cheese before pecan topping.
Keyword acorn squash, dry white wine, fresh sage, garlic, holiday recipe, mac and cheese, shallot, thanksgiving recipe, vegetarian, white cheddar

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Fresh Sage and White Cheddar Mac & Cheese Stuffed Acorn Squash with Chopped Pecans

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