I’m on an acorn squash kick this month! Collingswood Farmers’ Market vendor, Savoie Organic Farm grows the sweetest tasting acorn squash. The natural sweetness inspired me to substitute homemade acorn squash puree for canned pumpkin in two recipes: cheesy pumpkin pasta and pumpkin muffins.
In addition to Savoie’s acorn squash, Collingswood Farmers' Market DanLynn Farms ceylon tomatoes and fingerling potatoes, as well as Springdale Farms cherry berry tomatoes graced our kitchen counter (thanks to Joe since I was working!).
acorn squash mac & cheese
yield: 4 servings
¼ - ½ cup hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
1 pound orecchiette pasta (or your choice of pasta shape)
3 tablespoons butter
3-4 small shallot cloves, small dice (or half of a small yellow onion)
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons fresh sage, chiffonade and divided
15 ounces homemade acorn squash puree (or canned pumpkin)
½ cup neufchâtel cheese or cream cheese
¼ cup parmigiano-reggiano, large grate (plus more for garnish)
Prepare all ingredients before beginning to cook.
Preheat the oven to 350°. On a sheet pan, toast hazelnuts for 5-7 minutes, until fragrant. Allow to cool wrapped in a clean/dry dish towel. Rub off most of the skins and roughly chop.
In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter. Add the shallot, minced garlic, 1 tsp sage and cook over low heat until the shallot is softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a blender (or food processor). Add the acorn squash puree and process until smooth. (Pause on seasoning until later.) Scrape the squash mixture back into the saucepan and leave off heat while pasta cooks.
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
Turn the heat on to your squash mixture. Cook over low heat until hot. Stir in the neufchâtel and grated cheese. Add the pasta and 1/2 cup reserved cooking water and toss to coat thoroughly and heat through (add more cooking water as needed). Taste and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with hazelnuts, remaining sage and finely grated (or shaved) parmigiano-reggiano.
Modified from Food & Wine, Pasta with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce and Toasted Hazelnuts