Friday, October 7, 2011

Macaroni and...squash?

That's right, macaroni and pureed squash! Okay, there's a bit of cheese mixed in and sprinkled on top, but only about half a cup as opposed to...oh, I don't know, an entire brick? For this recipe I used brown rice macaroni*, acorn squash soup (an ever present leftover during the holiday harvest season!), and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

I got the idea for this concoction the last time I made acorn squash soup (using this recipe, substituting acorn for butternut squash). Completely dairy-free, I couldn't believe how rich and creamy it was; and when I tossed in a handful of leftover macaroni, the soup clung to the pasta and became more of a hearty sauce than a simple soup. The texture was just like homemade macaroni and cheese! All that was missing was that crunchy top layer of rich melted cheese.

So if you happen to have a batch of leftover squash soup in the fridge, preheat oven to 350° F (175° C). Cook up some macaroni (I used about 1 cup of dried brown rice elbow noodles*), drain, and add back to cooking pot. Next, ladle in enough leftover squash soup to generously coat the pasta (I used about 2 cups). Mix in about a quarter cup of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and a few pinches of chili power, paprika, and nutmeg. Once heated through, pour the gooey mixture into a baking dish and sprinkle with another quarter cup of cheese. Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden brown. It will look just like your typical homemade mac and cheese, and it will be eaten up just as quickly!

The best part about this dish? The sauce is basically all veggies, so no side dish—or guilty feelings—required! And just in time for Canadian Thanksgiving, you could add some leftover turkey to the mix. Ou, or some stuffing. Or spread leftover mashed potatoes on top...wait, that's just crazy!! Crazy delicious.

*PS: brown rice noodles are great because they're less likely to overcook and get all soggy when baking in the oven!

Photographs copyright © 2011 Jasmine Habart.

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