Is it just me, or does it seem like pumpkin starts making a huge showing when the first signs of fall hit, but then you basically don’t hear about it anymore after Thanksgiving? I’m just here to tell you that I think this is just wrong. I don’t know about you, but we usually have pumpkin pie on the Christmas table. And I still see those little sugar pumpkins when I go to the grocery store. So I hope it’s not taboo, because I think that pumpkin should have a little more time in the limelight than a mere 5 or 6 weeks.
So I’m bringing you this pumpkin mac and cheese. Pumpkin, because I think it is wonderful, and it is still very seasonal, and because I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for a long time now and wanted to try it out. And mac and cheese, because what better comfort food is there to battle through this cold weather?
I did go into this recipe cautiously. After reading through the online reviews, and seeing quite a few negative reviews, I was prepared to say that this wasn’t a favorite. But I’m glad I decided to try this for myself, because I loved it. Way more than I thought I would. I even loved the leftovers, which mac and cheese leftovers are usually hit or miss with me. I loved the depth that the pumpkin brought, and the hint of spices. And of course, the cheese!! I would totally, totally make this again, and enjoy every bite of it!
- 1 pound whole wheat penne
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 3 rounded tablespoons flour
- 1 cup chicken stock (use vegetable stock if you want to make it vegetarian)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 cups milk
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 cups pumpkin puree
- 2½ cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese, divided
- sweet paprika, for sprinkling
- chopped parsley, for garnish
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain and reserve.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large pan. Whisk in the flour and cook for a minute. Whisk in the chicken (or vegetable) stock and cook until it has reduced down where there is almost no liquid left. Whisk in the honey and the milk. Season with the allspice, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until thickened and it coats the back of a spoon. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed.
- Preheat the broiler.
- Whisk in the pumpkin puree. Stir in 2 cups of the cheese until melted. Combine the pasta and the sauce and transfer to individual casserole dishes, or one large casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and sprinkle with paprika. Broil until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.
- Adapted from The Rachael Ray Show
Check out these other takes on Mac and Cheese:
Jalepeno Popper Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese from Lauren’s Latest
Creamy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese from The Curvy Carrot
Martha Stewart’s Macaroni and Cheese from Food52