Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese

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Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese is creamy and comforting with just a hint of fall spices and pumpkin. This would be the perfect side dish for a roasted chicken, or serve it as a main course. 

  Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese | Bites of Bri

First pumpkin recipe coming at you! After a long hot summer, one of my favorite parts of the fall season is the cooler weather and getting back into comfort foods. What says comfort food more than macaroni and cheese?

If you haven’t made homemade macaroni and cheese before, you’ve been missing out. Now don’t get me wrong. I grew up eating tons of (and loving every bit of) the blue box. Occasionally we had the stuff that start with vel and ends in eeeta. Cringe. But seriously, that bag of creamy cheese? Hard to resist.

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese | Bites of Bri

Now that I’m older and have made homemade mac and cheese more than a few times, I realize that a little effort goes a long way in regard to health and taste.

For this mac and cheese, I used the same base as my Bacon and Kale Mac from last winter.

Start by melting 4 tbsp of unsalted butter in the bottom of a large pot. You could use a shallow pan, but I like using a soup pot so that I can add the pasta at the end to toss it together with the sauce before adding it to the casserole.

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese | Bites of Bri

Bring a pot of water to boil for the pasta.

Once the butter is melted, add the 4 tbsp of flour and give it a good whisk. This is your roux.

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese | Bites of Bri

Allow the roux to bubble and once it starts turning golden, add the chopped garlic. Cook the garlic for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Whisk in the 4 cups of milk. I used 2% but you could use any milk you have on hand. Make sure the roux is scraped from the sides and bottom of the pot.

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese | Bites of Bri

Allow the milk to simmer on medium heat until it thickens slightly and begins to bubble around the edges, about 5 minutes.  While the milk simmers, grate the fontina cheese and measure out the pumpkin.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Once cooked, drain.

Add the pumpkin to the simmering milk. Whisk to combine, breaking up any larger pieces.

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese | Bites of Bri

Add the grated fontina and whisk. Turn the heat off. Continue whisking intermittently until all of the cheese is melted. If you’re adding spinach, now it the time to do it. Add the spinach leaves to the sauce and stir to combine. The heat of the sauce will wilt the spinach leaves.

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese | Bites of Bri

Time to season the sauce. Add the pumpkin spice, salt, and pepper. Taste it to make sure it’s seasoned to your liking. Whisk, whisk, whisk to combine.

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese | Bites of Bri

Once the pasta is drained, add it to the sauce and stir to combine.

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese | Bites of Bri   Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese | Bites of Bri

Spray the bottom of a 9X13 casserole dish with olive oil spray and pour the pasta mixture into the dish. Combine the parmesan cheese and Italian breadcrumbs in a small bowl. Top the pasta with the remaining 1 cup of fontina cheese. Spoon the breadcrumb and parmesan mixture over top.

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese | Bites of Bri

Bake for 25 minutes at 350.

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese | Bites of Bri

Mondays call for a big, warm, comforting bowl of this pumpkin mac and cheese. Oh yes.

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese | Bites of Bri

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Serving Size: 6-10 large portions

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese is creamy and comforting with just a hint of fall spices and pumpkin. This would be the perfect side dish for a roasted chicken, or serve it as a main course.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb penne pasta (rigatoni would also work)
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 4 tbsp butter (unsalted)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups 2% milk
  • 2 cups shredded fontina cheese
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (unflavored)
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • topping
  • 1 cup shredded fontina cheese
  • 1/8 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • optional 2-3 cups chopped fresh spinach

Instructions

  1. Start by melting 4 tbsp of unsalted butter in the bottom of a large pot. You could use a shallow pan, but I like using a soup pot so that I can add the pasta at the end to toss it together with the sauce before adding it to the casserole.
  2. Bring a pot of water to boil for the pasta.
  3. Once the butter is melted over medium heat, add the 4 tbsp of flour and give it a good whisk. This is your roux.
  4. Allow the roux to bubble and once it starts turning golden, add the chopped garlic. Cook the garlic for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  5. Whisk in the 4 cups of milk. I used 2% but you could use any milk you have on hand. Make sure the roux is scraped from the sides and bottom of the pot.
  6. Allow the milk to simmer on medium heat until it thickens slightly and begins to bubble around the edges, about 5 minutes.
  7. While the milk simmers, grate the fontina cheese and measure out the pumpkin.
  8. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Once cooked, drain.
  9. Add the pumpkin to the simmering milk. Whisk to combine, breaking up any larger pieces.
  10. Add the grated fontina and whisk. Turn the heat off. Continue whisking intermittently until all of the cheese is melted. If you're adding spinach, now it the time to do it. Add the spinach leaves to the sauce and stir to combine. The heat of the sauce will wilt the spinach leaves.
  11. Add the pumpkin spice, salt, and pepper. Taste it to make sure it's seasoned to your liking. Whisk to combine.
  12. Once the pasta is drained, add it to the sauce and stir to combine.
  13. Spray the bottom of a 9X13 casserole dish with olive oil spray and pour the pasta mixture into the dish.
  14. Combine the parmesan cheese and Italian breadcrumbs in a small bowl.
  15. Top the pasta with the remaining 1 cup of fontina cheese. Spoon the breadcrumb and parmesan mixture over top.
  16. Bake for 25 minutes at 350.

Notes

If you wanted to take this to a friend, you could allow it to cool before baking. Cover it, and then refrigerate it. When you’re ready to cook it, add 10 minutes to the baking time. I usually like to add spinach to the sauce so that this mac and cheese has some veggies in it. To be honest, I forgot to add spinach to the mac and cheese this time I made it but it is delicious with spinach and great for a little added nutrition.

http://bitesofbri.com/2014/09/pumpkin-macaroni-cheese/

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Comments

  1. says

    Oh yeah, bring on the pumpkin pasta! What a fun idea. I was unsure how mac and cheese could improve, but you have done just that! I want a fork right now to dig into this deliciousness.

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