As the leaves turn vibrant shades of red and orange and there’s a nip in the air, our palettes yearn for fall-inspired delicacies. The Creamy Pumpkin Mac and Cheese stands out as an epitome of this season’s warm and cozy flavors. Imagine the harmonious blend of classic comfort from mac and cheese with the rich, earthy undertones of pumpkin. It’s not just a dish; it’s an experience that captures the very essence of autumn, promising both comfort and an explosion of flavor. Dive into this delightful fusion and let every bite resonate with the spirit of the season.
Mac and Cheese:
- 12 oz (340g) elbow macaroni or your favorite pasta
- 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated for best flavor)
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1. Prepare the Pasta
- To begin, preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
- In a big saucepan of salted water, boil the macaroni until it reaches the desired doneness, usually al dente. Drain and set aside.
2. Make the Pumpkin Cheese Sauce
- Butter should be melted over medium heat in a saucepan of suitable size.
- Cook the flour in a roux for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until it turns a pale golden color.
- Add the milk and heavy cream gradually, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Cook and whisk until the mixture thickens, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the shredded cheddar cheese, pumpkin puree, Dijon mustard, and nutmeg to the sauce. Melt the cheese and make a smooth, creamy sauce by stirring constantly.
- Prepare to taste with salt and pepper. On low heat, maintain a warm sauce.
3. Combine Pasta and Sauce
- Combine the cooked pasta and the pumpkin cheese sauce in a large mixing bowl. Gently fold the pasta until it’s evenly coated with the creamy sauce.
4. Prepare the Topping
- Panko breadcrumbs, butter, Parmesan cheese, and chopped parsley should be combined in a separate basin. This will create a deliciously crunchy and flavorful topping for your mac and cheese.
5. Assemble and Bake
- Transfer the creamy pasta mixture into a greased 9×13-inch baking dish.
- Sprinkle the breadcrumb topping evenly over the pasta.
6. Bake and Serve
- Baking the dish for 20–25 minutes in a preheated oven will produce a golden top and bubbling cheese sauce around the edges.
- When baking the macaroni and cheese, take it out and let it cool for a few minutes before serving.
7. Enjoy the Comforting Delight
- Serve the Creamy Pumpkin Mac and Cheese while it’s still warm, savoring the delightful combination of cheesy goodness and pumpkin warmth.
- Garnish with additional chopped parsley if desired.
The Creamy Pumpkin Mac and Cheese is a testament to the magic of autumn flavors. With its velvety pumpkin cheese sauce and crispy breadcrumb topping, this dish will become a fall favorite in your household. Whether enjoyed as a comforting weeknight dinner or a show-stopping side dish at your next gathering, this mac and cheese will bring comfort and delight to your palate, capturing the essence of the season with every bite.