Cheesy Macaroni with Baked Acorn Squash and Tomato Sauce

Tonight we revisited a successful dish we had found on the Food Network’s website once when we had an abundance of acorn squash. Basically, you fill baked acorn squash with pasta, sausage, tomato sauce, red onions, cheese, and re-bake. We followed the recipe pretty closely the last time we made it (using ditalini shaped pasta instead of rigatoni and halving the recipe). I really liked this dish, except that I found that there ended up being a bit too much squash per serving for my tastes. The squash tasted best to me when it had come into contact with the pasta and sauce, so the deeper areas of squash flesh were left a bit too “squashy” for me. We remedied that issue this time.

The adjustments we made to the recipe were to make it like a big casserole. We followed most of the instructions (except we were low on sausage so we supplemented with some meatballs, and we halved the recipe again). After the squash baked, I scooped it out of its skin into the big pot where we had combined all of the other ingredients. Instead of having the beautiful little servings of pasta inside the squash, the squash flesh is now a part of the sauce. Less adorable, but far more tasty and practical. We thought about baking the entire pot of everything but it was still very warm and we were hungry, so we dug in right away. We also have a ton of very portable leftovers from this dish to take for lunch tomorrow.

I’m quite glad we returned to this dish after 2 years. It doesn’t look like much but its packed with flavor, and thanks to the squash, more varied nutrients than any regular bowl of pasta in tomato sauce.

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