I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin though I do tend to indulge in it quite a bit around the holidays – this despite the fact that I HATE pumpkin pie and refuse to eat it (even if it’s the only dessert being offered). My grandma sent me a recipe for pumpkin macaroni and cheese. I was intrigued. Couldn’t decide if it sounded amazing or disgusting so I thought I’d give it a whirl.
- 3 c. uncooked penne pasta
- 2 T. butter
- 2 T. flour
- 2 c. heavy whipping cream (or half and half or milk)
- 3/4 c. canned or fresh pumpkin puree
- 1 c. shredded Monterey Jack
- 1 c. shredded Comte or Gruyère cheese
- 1/2 c. parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg (optional, but seems like it would go well with pumpkin, right?)
- 1/8 tsp. black pepper
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 13×9-inch baking pan.
- Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. (I like to undercook slightly because the noodles will continue to cook when you bake the dish.) Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain again.
- Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Slowly whisk in cream; cook until just slightly thickened. (Trust me on this one. By the time you add both the pumpkin and the cheeses the sauce will be plenty thick. Get your sauce too thick before you add these and you’ll want to thin it out a bit with additional cream.) Add pumpkin puree and mix well. Remove from heat. Add cheeses, salt, nutmeg and black pepper.
- Combine sauce with pasta. Pour into baking pan. If desired, top with an additional cup or two of shredded cheese. Bake uncovered 25 to 30 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper after removing from the oven.
All I can say about this dish is: Yum! If you’re worried about combining pumpkin and mac and cheese – don’t be. You can barely taste the pumpkin. It gives it just a hint of pumpkin flavor. This makes an excellent side dish for your Thanksgiving dinner if you’re looking for something different (and impressive) to put out on the table.