Baked Buttercup Macaroni

This baked casserole is reminiscent of mac-and-cheese, with a rich, nutty sauce encasing hearty macaroni and a crispy topping. Serve alongside sautéed rapini or kale, and a few scoops of homemade cranberry sauce. I wrote this over 5 years ago, but it’s definitely a favourite that I make  often (or variations of). Excuse the photography — I’m sure you get the idea.

Baked Buttercup Macaroni

Baked Buttercup Macaroni

   

For the casserole
2 cups (480mL) gluten-free macaroni (I like Barilla the best, Tinkyada next)
2 tablespoons (30mL) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium buttercup squash, roasted, seeded and peeled (about 2 cups (480mL) mashed)
1/4 cup (60mL) roasted cashew butter
3 tablespoons (45mL) nutritional yeast flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons (22mL) sweet rice flour (mochiko flour)
3/4 teaspoon (4mL) ground sage
3/4 teaspoon (4mL) garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon (2mL) ground nutmeg
Himalayan or fine sea salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste
2 to 4 tablespoons (30 to 60mL) unsweetened nondairy milk (as needed)

For the topping:
3 tablespoons (45mL) finely chopped pecans
2 tablespoons (30mL) ground flaxseeds

Cook the macaroni to al dente, according to the package directions. Drain well. Use 1 tablespoon (15mL) of the oil to grease a 9-inch square glass baking dish. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat the remaining oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened and golden, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the squash, cashew butter, nutritional yeast, sweet rice flour, sage, garlic powder, nutmeg, salt and pepper into a food processor. Process until smooth, adding water or milk if the mixture is very thick. It should be about the consistency of a thick sauce.

In a small bowl, stir together the pecans and flaxmeal.

Add the macaroni to the oiled dish. Scrape in the squash mixture, mixing until combined. Sprinkle with the pecan mixture. Bake for 30 minutes, until lightly browned and crisp on top. Let cool 5 minutes before serving. 

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