Sausage Mac and Cheese Stuffed Acorn Squash
Makes 4-8 servings
4 medium acorn squash
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
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.