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Pumpkin Cheddar Mac ‘n Cheese

Squash, cheese, whole wheat pasta and herbs make this mac ‘n cheese a “home run” meal.


  • 1 pound whole wheat or whole grain short-cut pasta, such as rigatoni or penne
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 slightly rounded tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup amber beer or chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • A couple of pinches of ground cloves or 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • About 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 can unsweetened pumpkin puree (14 ounces) or 2 cups pureed fresh roasted pumpkin or butternut squash
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded sharp yellow cheddar cheese, divided
  • Sweet paprika, for sprinkling
  • Chopped parsley or chives, for garnish


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt it and cook the pasta to al dente. Drain and reserve.

Pre-heat the broiler.

Melt the butter in a medium size saucepot over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, cook for 1 minute, then raise the heat a bit and add the beer or chicken stock. Reduce until almost evaporated, then whisk in the honey or syrup and milk. Season with cloves or allspice, mustard, cayenne, a little freshly grated nutmeg and some salt and pepper. Thicken to coat a spoon, a couple of minutes, then taste to adjust the seasonings.

Whisk in the pumpkin puree, then stir in about 2 cups grated cheese with a wooden spoon until melted. Combine the pasta with the sauce and arrange in a casserole or individual ramekins. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and a light dusting of paprika. Broil to brown and bubble. Garnish with chopped parsley or chives.

This is one of many “Yum-o!” recipes – it’s good and good for you. To find out more about Yum-o!, Rachael’s nonprofit organization, go to

Rachael Ray