Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Pumpkin Mac & Cheese

Indulgent? You betcha!

Easy? Yes! You'll wonder why you waited so long to ditch the box of mac-n-cheese.

This is one of those base recipes to be customized to most any upgrade you can dream up... like this seasonal variation!

PUMPKIN Mac & Cheese

1-2 cups Dry Pasta, cooked (My fave is Cavatappi!)

2 tablespoons Butter or Olive Oil
2 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
1-2 teaspoons Black Pepper
(optional: Ground Nutmeg)
Fresh Rosemary leaves, finely chopped 
2/3 to 1 cup Milk (evaporated, cow or nut)
1 cup-ish grated Gruyere Cheese, (I use a simple box grater. Cheese grates easier when cold.)
2/3 cup to 1 cup of 100% Pumpkin
Bread Crumbs or Panko

  • Prepare dry pasta according to package -- to al dente! While pasta cooks...
  • In large skillet, melt butter over medium heat.
  • When melted, whisk in an equal amount of all purpose flour. 
  • While whisking, add your black pepper and nutmeg (my preference). Don't walk away. This could scorch quickly.
  • Add milk while whisking; reduce heat to allow sauce to thicken. It's ready when it coats the back of a spoon!
  • At this point, add your grated cheese and rosemary and watch the melted magic happen! Taste it! Does it need more? 
  • You've just created your cheesy sauce!
  • Stir a little measurement of pumpkin into your sauce. Taste it. Does it need more? If so, add it!
  • Toss in your cooked pasta.
  • Now, you have a choice: Serve from the skillet --OR-- Pour into a casserole dish, top with bread crumbs and bake until bubbly. 

(1) Try Gouda Cheese instead of the Gruyere.
(2) I don't add extra salt to the pasta or the sauce, because cheese is pretty salty.
(3) Add spices, like black pepper and nutmeg, to the flour in the skillet. Spices tend to distribute better at this point.
(4) You can cook down your own pumpkin or use 100% pumpkin from a can.

LOOK AT YOU! You're a mac-n-cheese chef! Go play with your food!

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