When I was given the opportunity to develop a few recipes for Cassava Kitchen I was not only so excited to finally try their gluten free products but I was also beyond thrilled to be working with a fellow #femaleprenuer . I highly encourage you to click that link and read more about founder Val's story + the how and why behind Cassava Kitchen. You'll fall in love before you even have the chance to try!
I knew I wanted to create a cozy, homey feeling recipe to kick things off together, so my mind immediately went to lactose free gluten free mac + cheese. But then, I just had to kick it up a notch because, well, that's just what I do! Acorn squash mac and cheese is about as cozy a recipe as they come, but it's not always so tummy friendly, so naturally I've ensured this recipe IS.
Let's start with the gluten free fusilli from Cassava Kitchen. Made with cassava flour and rice flour, it is not only gluten free, but it is low FODMAP friendly, too which if you're following the diet like me, is super exciting to hear. Cassava Kitchen Fusilli is made with limited, whole food ingredients that I can easily digest, which makes me want to do a happy dance because YAY PASTA! It took me a few years to work up the courage to even eat pasta again, so I am beyond thrilled to have found a brand that loves me right back. Other gluten free pastas tend to contain lots of weird ingredients and fillers which aren't great to begin with, especially if you're someone who suffers from SIBO or IBS like me. Cassava Kitchen Fusilli is really easy for me to digest and feels like a light, healthy meal even smothered in all this cheesey goodness!
Speaking of cheesey goodness, I told you this was tummy friendly, right? I used only lactose free and vegan cheeses when testing this recipe so I could ensure there was an option for everyone. If you're not lactose intolerant, vegan, or dealing with a gut-health related issue and you eat dairy, guess what? It works with that, too!
One thing I will note, is that while the box suggests a cooking time around 6 minutes, I prefer to cook my Cassava Kitchen Fusilli between 7 and 9 minutes. My husband isn't a huge fan of al dente pasta, but I love it, so more often than not I'll cook Cassava Kitchen Fussili around 7-8 minutes to please us both.
Alright, without further ado, please enjoy this lactose free gluten free acorn squash mac and cheese recipe, created exclusively for Cassava Kitchen! I can't wait for you to try, and when you do please don't forget to leave me a love note in the comments so more people can find and enjoy!
For the Cheese-y Roux
2 tbsp lactose free butter or vegan butter
2 tbsp gluten free 1:1 flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup non-dairy or lactose free milk
1/4 cup bone broth or veggie broth to keep vegan
1/4 cup lactose free cream cheese or vegan cream cheese
2 cups lactose free shredded cheese or vegan cheese shreds
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp mustard seed
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric (for color, optional)
For the Acorn Squash
1/2 small acorn squash, cut in half, peeled + sliced in thin rounds
1 tbsp garlic infused olive oil
salt + pepper to taste
pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
1 Box Cassava Kitchen Gluten Free Fusilli Pasta
2 medium acorn squash, to use as bowls (optional)
1/4 cup gluten free bread crumbs, for topping (optional)
fresh chopped parsley, for topping (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
While the oven pre-heats, chop your small acorn squash in half, then slice into rings or quarters. If you do not have a sharp chef's knife, a large serrated bread knife works well for cutting through the tough skin.
Arrange rounds/quarters onto a baking sheet, then drizzle with garlic infused olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper if using.
4. Bake squash for 25 minutes or until tender.
5. While the acorn squash bakes, begin to gather your ingredients for the roux next and place a pot of salted water on the stovetop over medium heat, brining to a boil in preparation to make the fusilli.
6. In a large, deep saucepan add 2 tbsp of butter + 1 cup non-dairy milk + 1/4 broth. Bring to a simmer, stirring to help melt the butter and combine.
7. Once the butter is fully melted, add gluten free 1:1 flour, one tablespoon at a time, whisking vigorously to combine.
8. Mixture will begin to thicken. Continue to whisk, smoothing out any clumps of flour that may remain.
9. Next, add in cream cheese + shredded cheese, continuing to whisk until smooth. Once cheese is fully incorporated, add in spices and whisk some more ensuring there are no clumps.
10. While cheesey roux is just about finished, your pasta water should be at a rolling boil by now. Add entire box of Cassava Kitchen Gluten Free Fusilli pasta and allow to boil for 7-9 minutes; 7 will be a little more al dente, 9 will be more tender.
11. Continuing whisking cheese over low heat to keep it from solidifying while pasta boils.
12. As soon as pasta is ready, transfer it over into the cheese mixture using a slotted spoon. Do not drain pasta first; you'll want a bit of the pasta water to transfer into the cheese mixture to thin it out just a bit. Fold fusilli into cheese mixture with a slotted spoon.
13. The acorn squash should be ready to come out of the oven by now. Your last step is to add the pieces of squash to the fusilli and cheese mixture, folding in a few more times to combine.
14. If you're going to bake the mac + cheese in halved acorn squash bowls, continue on to next step. If not, devour and enjoy!
15. With oven still on 425F using the same baking sheet + parchment you roasted the squash rounds on, place 4 acorn squash bowls, with bottoms chopped off so they stand upright, like the below.
16. Fill each bowl with the mac + cheese, then top with gluten free bread crumbs. Cover in foil being mindful not to touch the foil to the mac + cheese to avoid sticking. Bake squash for 20 minutes, then remove foil and bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until breadcrumbs are golden brown.