“Cheesy” Pasta Bake
Squash provides the perfect base for “cheesy” pasta. The color is just right and the slightly sweet flavor combined with the right seasonings creates a creamy, rich sauce that’s reminiscent of those traditional mac ‘n cheese sauces we all love.
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil melted
- ½ cup gluten-free bread crumbs
- 1½ cups unsweetened almond soy, or cashew milk
- ¾ cup vegetable broth
- 1 cup cooked acorn or butternut squash puree see note
- 1/3 cup raw cashews
- 4 garlic cloves sliced
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons white or mild miso
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1½ cups uncooked gluten-free macaroni
Prepare the topping: In a bowl, drizzle the coconut oil over the breadcrumbs and toss with a fork to coat evenly. Set aside.
For a baked casserole: Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish.
In a food processor or blender, combine the milk, broth, squash, cashews, garlic, nutritional yeast, mustard, miso, olive oil, nutmeg, onion powder, and salt. Blend until smooth. Place the dry macaroni in the casserole dish and cover with the sauce. Bake for 25 minutes, then remove from the oven and stir to break up any clumps. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture evenly over top, then continue to bake for another 20-25 minutes, until the edges are bubbly and the pasta is soft when pierced with a fork. (May be frozen.)
For the stovetop method: Prepare the sauce as directed above. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions. Drain and return to the hot pot set over medium-low heat. Add the sauce to the pasta and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is bubbling and thickened, 5-10 minutes. Spoon into bowls and sprinkle each with some of the breadcrumb mixture. Serve warm.
I prefer baked squash, since it caramelizes slightly as it bakes and provides a sweeter, thicker base to the sauce. You can bake your whole squash at 400ºF for about an hour, then cool and scoop out the seeds. Scoop the flesh into a food processor and puree until smooth. Alternatively, peel and seed the squash and cut it into cubes. Boil until soft, then puree in a food processor until smooth.
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