Pumpkin Mac & Cheese

According to our weekly meal plan (yes, I take joy in planning in such a way), tonight we were eating asian style lettuce wraps. After two feet of snow, there was no way we were eating lettuce. Two feet of snow definitely calls for some comfort food. This is pretty much my standard way of making any mac & cheese, but tonight I threw in some pureed pumpkin and it was a really good idea. Yum.

Pumpkin Mac & Cheese
Recipe by Just the Tip
Serves 4 with leftovers

Here’s what I used:

  • 1 pound whole wheat pasta (I used whole wheat rotini from Trader Joe’s)
  • 3 tbsp butter, divided
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 2 cups half and half (or milk)
  • 1 cup fontina, shredded
  • 1/2 cup 50% reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat panko
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper

Here’s what I did:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 and spray a baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Once boiling, salt the water and drop the pasta and cook until super al dente, a couple of minutes shy of package directions, since you’ll be baking the pasta for a while too.  Drain.
  3. Melt 2 tbsp butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and mustard and let cook for about a minute. Whisk in the half and half and then raise the heat to bring to a boil. Once bubbling, reduce the heat and let simmer and thicken for 5-6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Once the white sauce has thickened, add the cheeses and the pumpkin and then add the drained pasta and toss together.
  5. Pour the pasta mixture into baking dishes.
  6. Melt the remaining tbsp butter in the micro and toss with the panko and parsley. Top the pasta mixture with the panko and bake for 25 minutes until browned.

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