One-Pot Southern Squash Casserole Pasta

278

The summer between high school and college, I nannied for our neighbor’s family up in the mountains of North Carolina. Bartlett, the mama of the family, loves to entertain, so while my primary job was supposed to be nannying her two girls, sometimes I wound up so entrenched cooking with Bartlett that she would hire a babysitter so we could do our thing in the kitchen. And when there were “dinner dances” at the club? Bartlett would insist that I attend as their guest, again…. hiring a babysitter to stay with the girls, even though I was the live-in nanny.

It was the most fun summer “job” you can possibly imagine.

One of our go-to recipes was squash casserole. We’d boil the hell out of pounds and pounds and pounds of yellow summer squash and vidalia onions, drain it, then mix it with an ungodly amount of cheese. Pour it into a Pyrex (or two… or three… we very often made it in bulk) , top with more cheese and crushed Ritz crackers, and bake until bubbly and delicious.

Southern squash casserole is truly one of the more delightful “casserole” based foods out there.

When I started thinking about creating a new summery one-pot pasta, and I remembered that our delicious squash casserole didn’t involve any sauteing or browning, just boiling, I knew I had to combine the two. Throw the pasta, squash, onions, seasoning, and chicken broth all together right in one pot and let the squash, onions, and pasta soak up the broth and become tender all at the same time!

And then – copious amounts of cheese! Honestly, this has a fraction as much cheese as traditional squash casserole, but it could definitely be alternatively called Summer Squash Mac and Cheese. Yum.

However, if you wanted to make this ahead of time – do that! Cook the pasta as written in the recipe, then let it cool completely. If your pot is ovenproof, no need to transfer it to a baking dish, but if it isn’t, transfer the pasta to a greased 9×13” baking dish. Sprinkle the top with crushed Ritz and more shredded cheddar, cover with foil, and refrigerate until you’re ready to eat!! When you are, bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes or so. Remove the foil and finish cooking for 5 to 10 minutes.

Southern Squash Casserole Pasta

Servings 4 to 6 people

Equipment

  • Cutting board
  • Chef’s knife
  • Wide, large pot

Ingredients

  • pounds  yellow summer squash (about 3 medium to large sized squash), quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 ounce  dried orecchiette pasta
  • medium  vidalia (or yellow) onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1  tsp  kosher salt
  • ¾   tsp garlic powder
  • ½  tsp  red pepper flakes
  • ¼  tsp  lemon pepper (or regular black pepper)
  • 1 quart (4 cups) low-sodium chicken stock
  • ¼  cup  water
  • 8 8 ounce (2 cups) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • ounce (1/2 cup) grated Parmesan cheese (the powdery kind, not the shredded)
  • 2 ounce (1/2 cup) grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves 
  • Freshly ground lemon pepper  (or regular black pepper)

Substitutes:

  • Yellow summer squash:  zucchini, or you can even sub in a really small chopped (like 1/4-inch) winter squash like acorn or butternut!
  • Orecchiette pasta:  any kind whatsoever, just make sure it takes at least 10 minutes to cook (the squash needs that long).
  • Yellow onion:  vidalia onion, 3 shallots, 1 bunch thinly sliced scallions, 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • .Garlic cloves:  1 1/2 teaspoons (total) garlic powder).
  • Garlic powder:  onion powder.
  • Red pepper flakes:  if you love heat, add a minced serrano or jalapeño pepper! Bartlett and I used to add a jalapeño to our casserole occasionally.
  • Parmesan:  more cheddar, or 1 full cup pecorino romano. Or manchego or gouda! We just want a different cheesy flavor.
  • Pecorino romano:  more cheddar, of 1 full cup parmesan. Or see above.
  • Basil:  basil really helps round this dish out, but you could also use 1 cup fresh parsley or 1/4 cup fresh oregano.

Instructions

  • Add 2 pounds sliced squash, 1 pound orecchiette pasta, 1 thinly yellow onion, 6 thinly sliced garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper to a large pot. 
  • Pour 1 quart (4 cups) chicken stock and 1/4 cup water into the pot. Bring to a boil. Stir frequently (the pasta will try to stick to the bottom of the pot, just keep stirring!) until the pasta is tender and the liquid has nearly evaporated (you want a little less than 1/4 cup left to create the sauce), 9 to 11 minutes. It will be impossible to actually measure 1/4 cup, but just eyeball it. It should be juicy looking in the pot, but there shouldn’t be a ton of loose liquid.If the liquid evaporates before the pasta is tender, add another splash of water!
  • If the pasta is tender and there’s still way too much liquid, spoon some out! This can happen based on your stove calibration and the width of your pot, no big deal! Easy to solve!
  • Remove the pot from heat and stir in 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, and 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano until the cheese is completely melted and has created a smooth sauce. 
  • Taste. You might need more salt – it totally depends on how salty your brands of chicken stock, parmesan, and pecorino Romano were! 
  • Stir in 1 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves. I like to garnish with lots of freshly ground black pepper.
  • pounds  yellow summer squash (about 3 medium to large sized squash), quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 ounce  dried orecchiette pasta
  • medium  vidalia (or yellow) onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1  tsp  kosher salt
  • ¾   tsp garlic powder
  • ½  tsp  red pepper flakes
  • ¼  tsp  lemon pepper (or regular black pepper)
  • 1 quart (4 cups) low-sodium chicken stock
  • ¼  cup  water
  • 8 8 ounce (2 cups) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • ounce (1/2 cup) grated Parmesan cheese (the powdery kind, not the shredded)
  • 2 ounce (1/2 cup) grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves 
  • Freshly ground lemon pepper  (or regular black pepper)

Substitutes:

  • Yellow summer squash:  zucchini, or you can even sub in a really small chopped (like 1/4-inch) winter squash like acorn or butternut!
  • Orecchiette pasta:  any kind whatsoever, just make sure it takes at least 10 minutes to cook (the squash needs that long).
  • Yellow onion:  vidalia onion, 3 shallots, 1 bunch thinly sliced scallions, 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • .Garlic cloves:  1 1/2 teaspoons (total) garlic powder).
  • Garlic powder:  onion powder.
  • Red pepper flakes:  if you love heat, add a minced serrano or jalapeño pepper! Bartlett and I used to add a jalapeño to our casserole occasionally.
  • Parmesan:  more cheddar, or 1 full cup pecorino romano. Or manchego or gouda! We just want a different cheesy flavor.
  • Pecorino romano:  more cheddar, of 1 full cup parmesan. Or see above.
  • Basil:  basil really helps round this dish out, but you could also use 1 cup fresh parsley or 1/4 cup fresh oregano.

Notes

Want to make this ahead of time? See the last paragraph in the recipe description above.

Join the Conversation

  1. This was awful and cost a fortune for all the cheese and pasta.

    1. Caroline Chambers says:

      Hi Judith, I’m sorry to hear that something went wrong here. This recipe has been very popular and is love to help you troubleshoot what went wrong. Email me caroline@carolinechambers.com!

  2. Taelor Brown says:

    This was sooooo good!

    A huge hit with everyone and so simple. Thank you, will be making this again!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




Like
Close
Caroline Chambers © Copyright 2020. All rights reserved.
Close