I’ve seen recipes for pumpkin mac and cheese floating around for awhile, but I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical on the flavor aspect of it. I felt like I was in a cooking rut anyway so I decided to just go for it and I am so glad that I did! I wanted something slightly more grown up tasting than the traditional boxed macaroni and cheese, so I chose to add in sage, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper for a slightly spicy kick. I also used Parmesan, aged white cheddar, and creamy goat cheese which really complements the slightly earthy taste from the pumpkin. If you like butternut squash ravioli then you’ll love this dish!
(makes 6-8 servings)
10oz (2 1/2 cups) pasta shells or elbow macaroni
4 Tbs (half a stick) unsalted butter, divided
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
1 (15oz) can of pumpkin puree
4oz (1 cup) shredded white cheddar
4oz goat cheese
1oz (1/4 cup) grated Parmesan
1 tsp dried sage
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 365 degrees F.
Fill a large saucepan about 3/4 of the way full with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally. When pasta is done, strain water out, add 2 tablespoons of butter and toss the pasta to coat in melting butter. Cover and set aside.
While cooking the pasta, you can get your pumpkin cheese sauce rolling as well. Melt the remaining butter in 10″ cast iron skillet over low to medium heat. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Stir in heavy cream and milk and bring to a simmer over medium to high heat, stirring every few minutes so it doesn’t burn. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until thickened.
Stir in pumpkin puree, cheeses, and spices until completely mixed. Cook another 2-3 minutes or until cheese is completely melted and smooth.
Pour over pasta, toss to completely coat, and then transfer back to skillet. Lightly pack down and then cover the top with breadcrumbs.
Place in the oven to bake for 30 minutes. During the last 2 minutes kick the broiler setting on to low or 500 degrees F to toast the breadcrumbs to a golden brown.
Remove from the oven (REMEMBER YOUR POT HOLDERS!) and allow to cool a few minutes before dishing up and serving.