When I got my September issue of Better Homes and Gardens, I noticed an article comparing canned pumpkin (p. 156). Then there was this little tidbit in the bottom corner with a link to see their most popular pumpkin recipe ever. I was curious, then I was surprised. Really? Pumpkin Mac and Cheese?? By now I was really intrigued, so of course I had to try it . . . then I was pleasantly surprised again. It’s really good. The pumpkin flavor is definitely unexpected, but it’s also very fun.
Pumpkin gives this Mac and Cheese a very rich flavor, especially when you add the Parmesan-walnut topping-YUM. A small portion as an appetizer or side dish is plenty. I decided to use these one-cup mason jars to make individual servings. You can also bake it in a casserole dish.
Okay – your turn to create a little fun and something unexpected- why not surprise your own family or guests with this fun and festive version of traditional Mac and Cheese!
Pumpkin Macaroni & Cheese
2 cups dried elbow macaroni (8 ounces)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
dash of nutmeg
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
4 ounces Fontina cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
1 tablespoon snipped fresh sage or 1`/2 teaspoon dried
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated armesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon olive oil
sage leaves for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook pasta in a large pot following package directions. Drain cooked pasta, then return to pot.
For cheese sauce, in a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add whipping cream and milk all at once. Cook and stir over medium heat until slightly thickened and bubbly. Stir in cheese, pumpkin, and sage until cheese is melted. Stir cheese sauce into pasta to coat. Transfer macaroni and cheese to an ungreased 2-quart rectangular baking dish 0r 6 – 8 one cup ramekins or mason jars. (Note: I filled mine a little over the top and got 6 jars, you could fill them a little less and get 7 or 8. You could even use the 1/2 cup mason jars for a small serving.)
In a small bowl combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, walnuts, and oil; sprinkle over pasta.
Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until bubbly and top is golden. (25 minutes for ramekins.) Let stand 10 minutes before serving. If desired, top with fresh sage leaves.
recipe adapted from BHG