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Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6
Cheesy and rich, with a delicious pumpkin note - Homemade Pumpkin Mac and cheese is the perfect comfort food for the cold season.
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Ingredients

  • 500 gr short pasta
  • 3 tbsp breadcrumbs

For the sauce:

  • 200 gr pumpkin flesh finely cubed
  • few sprigs of thyme
  • 1 garlic clove peeled
  • 1 tbsp extravirgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 50 gr butter
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 liter whole fresh milk warmed
  • 150 gr comte cheese grated
  • 4 tbsp parmesan cheese grated
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Arrange the pumpkin cubes on a baking tray covered with parchment paper.
  • Drizzle the extra-virgin olive oil over the top and add thyme sprigs and garlic.
  • Roast in a preheated oven to 360°F/180°F for about 30 min or until soft and cooked through.
  • In a large pot of lightly salted boiling water cook the pasta al dente, about 2 mins before cooking time.
  • While pasta cooks, prepare the sauce. In a large sauce pan melt the butter over medium-low heat. Slowly add flour, while whisking the mixture until fully combined. Add the bay leaf in.
  • Gently whisk the milk in a little at the time, until you have a smooth even sauce. Continue to whisk and simmer on low heat until the sauce thickens a little, then turn the heat off. Season with a pinch of nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Transfer the sauce and ⅔ of roasted pumpkin cubes (add the garlic if you like) in a blender or food processor. Pulse until creamy and fully combined.
  • Drain the pasta al dente and transfer back in the pot. Pour in the pumpkin bechamel sauce, add comte cheese and half parmesan cheese and mix until combined.
  • Transfer the pasta mixture into a large baking dish or individual casserole dishes, Scatter over the top the remaining parmesan cheese and pumpkin cubes, and the breadcrumbs.
  • Season with freshly-cracked black pepper and bake in a preheated oven to 360°F/180°C for about 20 min or until crispy and golden on top.
  • Serve immediately, store leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Notes

You can also freeze your mac and cheese before baking – defrost thoroughly before cooking.
Substitute comte and parmesan cheese with your favorite cheese if you like - gruvyer, mature cheddar, fontina are all good options.