Pumpkin Mac 'n Cheese

Serves 8-10, prep time: 10 m, total time: 45 m

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 lb. elbow macaroni

  • 4 cups of whole milk

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus 2 additional tablespoons for the pasta

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 can (15 oz) of pumpkin or 3 cups of fresh pumpkin purée (see recipe below)

  • 3 cups of grated sharp cheddar cheese

  • 1 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika

  • 2 teaspoons of Kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper

  • 1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds (see recipe on markfelice.com)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook to “al dente” according to instructions. Drain and place the pasta back into the empty pot with 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.  Stir to combine to keep the pasta from sticking together.  Cover with a lid and set aside off the burner.

 

Meanwhile heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat; do not allow to boil.  In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt 8 tablespoons of unsalted butter.  When melted, add the flour and whisk to combine.  Allow the melted butter and flour (roux) to bubble for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the roux from burning.  Add the hot milk and whisk thoroughly to combine.  Stir in the pumpkin, paprika, salt and pepper.  Turn the heat down to low and add the drained pasta and cheese.  Stir to combine.

 

Serve the pasta "stove top".  While you can put it in the oven to bake or to re-heat, the pasta is best served hot off the stove.  Simply pour the pasta from the pot into a serving dish if desired and serve alongside the roasted pumpkin seeds (pulse through a food processor until thoroughly processed to the size of bread crumbs) which can be used as a topping for guests to sprinkle on their individual portions.

 

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