Are you sick of pumpkin yet? Let’s hope not, because I’ve got an amazing pumpkin mac and cheese recipe for you. Yes, that’s right, I just said pumpkin. mac. and. cheese. And it’s marvelous.
This recipe is a great one to experiment with the technique of making a roux. A roux is the basis for classic French sauces. It comes from the French for “brown butter.” You melt butter (and let it brown if you want- that will give it a deeper, richer, nutty flavor), and then whisk in flour to thicken it. Then you add in a liquid, in this case, chicken (or vegetable stock), but it could be milk, cream, or white wine as well, and let that boil down to thicken the sauce even more. It’s what gives this dish the start of its amazing flavor.
More amazing flavor comes in via the fall spices – nutmeg and allspice – and the pumpkin, of course. The pumpkin also helps keep it creamy, in addition to that cheese. This is definitely a comfort food. You can feel better because there is pumpkin in it, but there is still a lot of cheese, milk, and butter in it. So, in my mind, its a great dish to make on the weekend, preferably on a Sunday afternoon. Enjoy it though – that’s what food, and comfort food specifically, is for. Make it for a dinner party, just a cozy dinner of two, or for your kids. Savor and enjoy!
Brown Butter Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
A good recipe to try the technique of making a roux. It’s a great rich comfort food to make on a Sunday afternoon.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 6-8 servings
- 1 – 16 oz box of pasta (whole wheat if you like)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 3 rounded tablespoons flour
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 2 teaspoons ground mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- pinch of cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup pumpkin puree, canned or homemade
- 1 1/2 cups and 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, divided
- paprika for garnishing
- breadcrumbs for garnishing, if desired
- Cook pasta according to instructions on the box, for ‘al dente.’ Drain and set aside.
- Grease a large baking or casserole dish and set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter until beginning to brown. Whisk in flour until fully combined. Cook for another minute to continue browning. This will give it a rich, nutty flavor.
- Gradually pour in chicken stock and whisk until fully combined. Cook until liquid is reduced.
- Whisk in honey, then milk.
- Stir in the spices, then let the sauce cook until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Stir often. Turn off the heat.
- Stir in salt and pepper, then taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
- Whisk in the pumpkin and 1 1/2 cups cheese. Stir to combine and melt.
- Pour in 1/3 of the pumpkin-cheese sauce to the bottom of the prepared casserole dish.
- Pour in half of the pasta and stir to combine with the cheese sauce.
- Add the remaining pasta and cheese sauce and stir to combine well.
- Sprinkle with paprika and the remaining 1/2 cups cheese. Top with breadcrumbs, if using.
- Broil until the cheese is melted and browned.
- Dig in, and enjoy! Best if served right away!