Sunday, October 7, 2012
Pumpkin Mac n Cheese
Yes, that's right. Pumpkin Mac n Cheese. I have been looking for more things to do with pumpkin besides make weight watcher friendly cakes and cookies. This definitely isn't weight watcher friendly in large portions, but it is oh-so-good.
Here's the recipe...
Pumpkin Mac n Cheese
1 box macaroni- shape to suit your fancy (i used small rigatoni once and cavatappi once)
15oz pumpkin (a small can- not pumpkin pie mix!!)
16oz cheese (any kind really, for this batch i used a bag of sharp cheddar and a bag of mild cheddar because that's what i had on hand)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
add-ins (meat or veggies, optional)
Make the macaroni according to box directions. I always cook it for a minute or so less so it's not mushy. The macaroni needs to maintain it's integrity especially if you bake it.
Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a sauce pot. Once it's melted, add the flour and whisk it together. Let it cook for a minute or two and then very slowly (especially at first) add the milk whisking so it doesn't get clumpy. Once all the milk is added, continue stirring until it is brought up to temperature. Once it begins to bubble, you can turn the heat down because as you add the rest of the ingredients and it thickens, it can start to spit at you which is no fun. So the mixture is now beginning to bubble and thicken. Now you can add the cheese in small batches, stirring to melt it in. Then add the black pepper and smoked paprika, if you have it. If you don't, it's still super tasty. You could also add cayenne pepper or something like that if you'd like a kick. If you think it needs any salt, now's the time to add that too. i didn't add any because i thought the cheese would add some saltiness and i don't like things overly salty. Now is also the time to add any extras you would like to put in. I had some leftover rotisserie chicken in the fridge so i chunked that up and added it. You could also add veggies like carrots or corn or peas, maybe even asparagus or broccoli. I bet a little fresh ground nutmeg would be good too. Experiment. It's the funnest part of cooking! Now add the macaroni and stir to combine. Today I served it just like this- ooey-gooey and melty. Next time if I have more time I will probably try to bake it- put it in a greased 9x13 pan, add some bread crumbs and sprinkle cheese to the top and bake at 350 until the top gets brown and crispy.
Let me know if you try it, if you like it, and what you add to it!