While browsing the web recently, I came across this slideshow on creative ways to use canned pumpkin.
Pumpkin Macaroni & Cheese was the first slide and I immediately fell in love. Anyone who knows me understands my love for homemade mac & cheese. Or ANY carb for that matter. It is my true weakness. I guess there are worse weaknesses to have.
The rich, creamy cheese sauce with a hint of pumpkin and nutmeg hugging all of that macaroni was comforting to say the least. It will definitely be on the menu for Thanksgiving dinner, as I love taking original recipes and throwing in a seasonal flair.
I started by preparing the pumpkin cheese mixture while the macaroni was cooking…
I added the cooked macaroni to the mixture, stirred it up all good and placed it in a 9 x 13 casserole dish. The finishing touch was additional cheddar cheese and panko breadcrumbs. 🙂
It baked for about 25 minutes until the top was slightly browned and it was bubbling around the edges. The result was shockingly good, as I must admit that I was afraid of screwing up a perfectly good macaroni and cheese recipe by throwing in PUMPKIN!
So I can assure you, it’s definitely worth the effort. The pumpkin and nutmeg flavor is not overpowering, but you know it’s there. Be sure to add it to your Thanksgiving menu!
- (1) 16 ounce package macaroni
- ¼ cup butter (1/2 stick)
- ⅓ cup all purpose flour
- 3 cups milk
- ¾ cups canned pumpkin puree
- 16 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese---reserve 1 cup for topping
- ⅓ cup panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Cook macaroni according to package directions & drain.
- While macaroni is cooking, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until smooth.
- Add milk, bring to a simmer while whisking and whisk until thickened (about 4-5 minutes).
- Stir in pumpkin puree, salt, pepper & nutmeg.
- Slowly add cheese, one hand full at a time, stirring until cheese is melted and mixture is combined well (don't forget to reserve 1 cup of the cheese for topping).
- Remove from heat and add the cooked & drained macaroni to the cheese mixture. Stir to combine.
- Place macaroni in a 9x13 casserole dish. Top with the remaining 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese & panko breadcrumbs.
- Bake (uncovered) for approximately 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and sides are bubbly.