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.