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