Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese

October 13, 2014

We had a rainy weekend here in Boston and the cool raw weather had me craving something warm and comforting. Indulging, I stuffed myself with pumpkin macaroni and cheese and slow cooker chili while working on lectures and cuddling with Bruno. (Check back Wednesday for the Chicken and Pinto Chili!)

I tried getting a good pic of Bruno and me, this is the best I could get…

Macaroni and cheese was one of my all time favorite meals growing up. That being said, it wasn’t a specific homemade recipe at the top of my list – it was the pasta from the blue box.  In my mind, it simply wasn’t mac and cheese without the florescent orange cheese packet. In fact, I remember one Christmas my uncle bought me 20+ boxes of the boxed stuff and I was one happy camper.

Luckily my taste buds have grown up a bit, and I’ve come to adore homestyle mac and cheese. Moreover, now that I’ve discovered lactose free dairy products, I actually can indulge with a much happier stomach. (If you’re curious, Cabot cheddar cheese is naturally lactose free!)

I’ve been big on stovetop mac and cheese recently, as it is so quick and easy to prepare. Even better, this recipe was inspired by White on Rice’s stovetop mac and cheese, which means there is no draining of water required; the pasta is cooked right in the milk mixture, yielding an incredibly creamy sauce without the need for a rue or excess butter. Yes!

The addition of pumpkin puree is what really makes this dish special, however. The savory pumpkin mixed with gooey cheddar is pulled together by a hint of warm nutmeg and salty Parmesan rendering this mac and cheese over the top. Next time you’re craving a bowl of comfort, give this recipe a try.

What was your favorite comfort food dish growing up? Let me know below!

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese

Yield: 3-4
Time: ~ 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz macaroni
  • 1 cup milk of choice (plus a few tbls. more, if needed)
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken stock (plus a few tbls. more, if needed)
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine milk and chicken stock in a large pot. Add macaroni and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce immediately to a simmer. Cover. 
    • **Watch your pot carefully as the milk will quickly boil over and make a giant mess. I speak with entirely too much experience…** 
  2. Continue cooking pasta, stirring frequently, until soft and the liquid is almost entirely absorbed – about 15-20 minutes.
  3. If you find the liquid has evaporated too quickly before your pasta had a chance to fully cook, no worries. Simply add a bit more milk and/or chicken stock.
  4. Once liquid is almost entirely absorbed, add remaining ingredients and stir until cheese is melted, gooey, and smothering your pasta. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve in bowls, sprinkle with additional Parmesan if desired, and enjoy!

Recipe inspired by White on Rice

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