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Pumpkin Mac & Cheese, Please!

I’ve always been a huge fan of comfort food, especially macaroni and cheese. I’m not picky about whether it was made fresh or came in a box, and I could eat it twice a day. I consume it, and it consumes me.

So for a change, I thought I would check out some macaroni and cheese recipes with a twist. Just when I thought I had heard of all the fall fusion recipes, I came across Pumpkin Mac & Cheese. I love pumpkin! I love macaroni and cheese! I had to try it.

Pumpkin Mac & Cheese:
Yield: Six 1 cup servings
Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces of uncooked noodles (I used rotini)
  • 1 cup of canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup of light cream
  • 4 tablespoons of Neufchatel cream cheese
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Gruyère cheese
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (divided)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup of panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 1/4 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
  • Cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta until al dente, about eight minutes in boiling water. Rinse and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish.
  3. Meanwhile, heat cream and pumpkin in a sauce pan on medium heat, until thickened.
  4. Reduce heat to low and slowly whisk in cheese until completely melted. The sauce will be quite thick.
  5. Add in 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, sea salt and pepper. Add pasta and stir it into the pumpkin-cheese sauce. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  6. Pour mixture into the greased dish. Sprinkle panko, parmesan cheese and rest of the pumpkin pie spice to completely cover the top of the macaroni. Add in more cayenne if you want a spicy crust.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until bread crumbs have browned.

Recipe from sheknows.com

Cheese Sauce

Voila!

I loved the excessive amount of cheese in the dish, but I’m still not sure if I loved the unique blend of sweet and salty flavors. My taste buds were rather confused during the first few bites; they didn’t know whether to enjoy the intense sweet pumpkin flavor or the sharp cheddar cheese combined with Gruyère. The Pumpkin Mac & Cheese was addicting, each bite left me wanting another to making sure I got to taste all the flavors. Macaroni and cheese just never gets old.

Since my first macaroni and cheese experiment was a success, I plan to try a few more recipes out in the future. Here are some recipes that caught my eye:
Gnocchi Mac & Cheese
Asparagus and Ramp Pesto Mac & Cheese
Goat Cheese, Roasted Red Pepper and Kalamata Olive Mac & Cheese
Chorizo Mac & Cheese

Do you have a new, delicious twist on the best comfort food? Let us know!

 

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