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Stovetop Mac and Cheese with Squash and Chorizo

Pasta with spicy chorizo and a cheesy roasted squash sauce - all brought together on the stovetop.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Dish
Keyword: easy dinner, easy pasta dinner, easy, weeknight-friendly, mac and cheese, stovetop
Servings: 6
Calories: 365kcal
Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $8.00

Equipment

  • Microwave Safe Bowl or Half Sheet Pan
  • Stockpot or Large Saucepan
  • Large Skillet

Ingredients

  • ½ pound squash (butternut, acorn, or kabocha), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ½ pound pasta (spiral shapes are my favorite for this dish, but penne or elbow would be great too)
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ½ cup finely chopped onions
  • ¾ cup finely chopped red pepper (about 1 red pepper)
  • 6 ounces chorizo, crumbled
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 4 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated

Instructions

  • Cook the squash either in the microwave or oven. To cook in the microwave, place the squash in a bowl with ½ inch of water in the bottom. Cover the bowl with a plate and microwave on high for 4-5 minutes, or until the squash is very tender. To roast in the oven, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the squash cubes in olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread on a baking sheet. Roast until the squash is very tender, stirring halfway through, about 20-25 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
  • Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water.
  • In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium. When melted, add the onions and red pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring, just until the chorizo breaks down and releases moisture, 3-5 minutes. Add the flour and stir until it is incorporated with the vegetables and no white spots remain. Add the roasted squash, broth, and the reserved ½ cup of pasta water and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes. If large pieces of squash remain, use a spatula or spoon to gently press them against the sides and bottom of the pan to break apart. (You want most of the squash to dissolve into the sauce, with just a few small pieces remaining.)
  • Turn the heat off and stir in the pasta and cheddar cheese until evenly combined. Serve immediately.

Notes

The roasted squash in this recipe is open to any number of adaptations. I use whatever I have on-hand, sometimes even using roasted carrots combined with squash.
This dish is unlikely to need additional salt if you salted your pasta water and if your chorizo is, like mine, rather salty to begin with. However, taste the dish at the end and add additional salt, if preferred.

Nutrition

Calories: 365kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 562mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g