Pumpkin Mac and Cheese


Pumpkin Mac and CheeseIt’s pumpkin season!!!!  I made homemade pumpkin pulp and have been tossing it in to all kinds of recipes.  One of my favorites is this spin on mac and cheese- I love how it feels more hearty and substantial in fall with all the “warm” spices…  I tried this a couple of different ways, and finally settled on the recipe below.  

Ingredients

1 lb macaroni
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups pumpkin pulp
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup water (you may need more if the sauce isn’t liquidy enough)
1 cup extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup milk (or heavy cream if you want a richer dish)
3 tablespoons breadcrumbs

Directions

1.  While you are preparing the rest of the sauce, cook the  pasta according to the package directions, but under-cook it slightly (1-2 mins less) since it will be baked later.  Drain it and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.

2.  In a large heavy bottom pan, heat the oil, onions, and salt on med-high.  Cook these until they become translucent (~7-10 mins).  Add water (a spoon at a time) if needed to keep the onions from burning on the bottom of the pan.

3.  Mix the pumpkin pulp, nutmeg, cinnamon, paprika, cayenne, and water with the onions.  Cook for 5 mins, stirring.  If needed, add additional water to make it thin enough to be a sauce.

4.  Remove from the heat.  Mix in the cheddar cheese and milk/heavy cream until the mixture is uniform.

5.  Mix in the cooked pasta.

6.  Grease a 9 x 13 x 3 inch baking dish.  Transfer the pasta to the baking dish.  Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top.

7.  Cover the baking dish with foil and bake at 375 F for 30 mins.   Remove the foil and bake for an additional 20 mins (top will become light brown and bubbly).

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