Sausage Mac & Cheese Stuffed Acorn Squash

Sausage Mac and Cheese Stuffed Acorn Squash

Makes 4-8 servings

4 medium acorn squash

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Kosher salt

Coarse-ground pepper

8 ounces uncooked cavatappi or fusilli pasta (about 3 cups)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 pound turkey Italian sausage, casing removed

1 small onion, chopped

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1-1/2 cups half-and-half cream

1/2 cup chicken stock

6 slices process American cheese (about 4 ounces), quartered

3/4 cup shredded Manchego cheese

3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

2 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped

1/3 cup chopped roasted sweet red pepper

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the squash in half and clean out the seeds and pulp. Place in a baking dish, flesh side up and add 1/2 cup water to the pan. Dot the butter over top, and season with salt and pepper.

Cover with alluminum foil and bake until tender, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a large saucepan, cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet, cook sausage and onion over medium heat 4-6 minutes or until sausage is no longer pink, breaking up sausage into crumbles; drain.

Drain pasta, reserving 1/3 cup pasta water. In same saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour until smooth; gradually whisk in cream and stock. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until thickened. Stir in cheeses until blended.

Add spinach, roasted pepper, pasta and sausage mixture; toss to combine, adding reserved pasta water to moisten if desired. Spoon the pasta mixture into the cavity of each squash. Place the filled squashes on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake until the squash is heated through and the cheese melts, about 20 minutes. Serve as a side dish or main course.


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