The perfect fall pasta, nothing beats a baked mac & cheese with pumpkin flavours.
3 cups dry elbow macaroni
Olive oil for tossing pasta
1/4 cup butter
3 tbs all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 tsp salt ( or to taste)
1 tsp fresh ground pepper or to taste
2 cups of milk
2 cups shredded sharp or spicy cheddar cheese
1/4-1/2 cup pasta water
1/2 breadcrumbs (or crushed croutons for topping)
Butter cubes for topping
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook macaroni as per package directions. Drain, and toss lightly with olive oil. (Keep 1/2-1 cup of pasta water).
- Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add in flour, salt, and pepper and mix until smooth and cooked through – about 5 minutes. Slowly pour in the milk into the butter and flour mixture, mixing continuously. Cook on low heat for 2-3 minutes.
- Add in the pumpkin puree and stir well.
- Add cheddar cheese to the milk and pumpkin mixture and stir to combine. At this point the sauce will be quite thick because of the pumpkin puree and cheese, use the pasta water to thin out the sauce. Start with just 1/4 cup of pasta water.
- Add sauce to the macaroni, combine well, and transfer to a baking dish. Cover the top layer of the pasta with breadcrumbs or crushed croutons, and top with small cubes of butter. Broil at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes, or until browned from the top.
Remember – use unsweetened pumpkin puree, not pie filling!
A spicy cheese really does make all the difference in this pasta. If you can’t find a spicy cheese, use a teaspoon or harissa paste or a little horseradish sauce.