Classic squash casserole recipe with Ritz crackers and sour cream meets pasta for the most fun mac and cheese date ever. I make this in a cast iron skillet or my favorite Staub for a stovetop-to-oven, one-dish dinner kind of situation.
OH YES SHE DID.
Here is how recipe "development," in the loosest sense of the word, works at this blog and in this house. I tell Jay that it's going to be sunny and I want to photograph something new. He says words like THAI, BEEF, CHOCOLATE CHIPS that go together in no way at all and I veto some of them and add some to his words and then make a recipe. I make it exactly once, then write what I did, then make adjustments based on how it turns out.
It's a really scientific process. In the loosest sense of the word.
So the other day homeboy started talking about squash casserole, which I already have on this website. And then he went off and was like "you could do a baked pasta squash casserole thing with TOFU and CHIMICHURRI and BABY FINGERS!!!" And I was all "squash casserole and pasta. done."
Baked Squash Casserole With Pasta
And so here we are. Almost the exact squash casserole recipe I use for holidays, which is a version of classic southern style squash casserole, which includes mayonnaise. This also includes mayonnaise.
Mayo can feel weird in baked dishes at first, but it bakes really nicely to a creamy saucy happy place. It doesn't separate, stays creamy, and obviously scooping out the jarred stuff is way easier than making a milk+cheese sauce. So let's not be afraid of mayo in our casseroles (I promise you can't taste it even a bit).
You need pasta, any short cut you like. You need squash, onion, garlic, sour cream, mayo, half and half, cheddar, and some kind of crackerish thing for the topping. Casserole + Pasta! Run extra tomorrow and get over it, I PROMISE this is worth it.
So, we'll cook the pasta to BEFORE al dente by 2 minutes, and drain that. While that's happening, preheat a large skillet to medium-high heat with a drizzle of oil, and thinly slice the onion.
Then thinly slice the squash...
...and mince the garlic.
To the skillet, add the onion, squash, and some salt and pepper. Emphasis on pepper - the flavor is great in this dish!
Now, stir the squash and onion together for about 5 minutes to start to soften. While that's happening grate the cheese.
Crush the crackers any way you'd like! Food processor, bag, knife, hands, whatevs.
When the squash and zucchini have softened, add the garlic to the mixture. Stir for one minute, then turn the heat off.
Now, we build! Add the pasta, mayo, sour cream, squash mixture, and half the cheese to the same pot you used to cook the pasta. Stir everything together and taste! Add some salt and pepper until the dish tastes great.
Now, how you bake this is up to you. I used the cast iron skillet I cooked the squash in because it's big and pretty and I didn't want to make another dirty dish. But you can use any baking dish you have!
Top the casserole with the rest of the cheese.
And the crackers.
If you bake right now, go for 450F for 15 minutes until everything is hot and bubbly and browned. If you make this ahead and start it from a colder temperature, just put the cold casserole in a cold oven, THEN turn the temp to 450F so the casserole and oven can heat gently together. It's done when it's browned and bubbly!
I mean. Really. Maddest of all the mad props to Jay for this great idea. and please don't fear the mayo.
This is delicious. There are no more words. Dinner, summer potluck side dish, THANKSGIVING OFFERING....you can't go wrong.
Squash Casserole Mac and Cheese
- 12 ounces short pasta cooked to 2 minutes shy of al dente
- 1 onion thinly sliced
- 3 medium yellow squash sliced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 8 ounces grated sharp cheddar
- ½ cup half and half
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup sour cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup crushed crackers any kind you like, for topping
- If baking right away, preheat the oven to 450F.
- Preheat a large skillet to medium-high heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Add the squash, onion, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes until the veggies start to soften, then add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more.
- In the pot you used to cook the noodles, combine the noodles, squash mixture, mayo, sour cream, half and half, and half of the cheese. Stir to combine and taste; add salt and pepper to your preference.
- Pour the mixture into a large skillet or baking dish. Top with the rest of the cheese and the crackers. Bake at 450F for 15 minutes or until browned on top and bubbly.