If you know nothing about me the one thing you should know is that I love cheese. Straight out love affair. Add that to pasta and I would leave Michael and run off into the sunset with it.
Only a little bit.
But seriously mac and cheese is the combination of my two favorite food items ever. So when we decided to host a small holiday party and I came across this pumpkin mac and cheese recipe I was intrigued. I have made plenty of mac and cheese variations generally with different cheese combinations and adding simple things like onions and bacon but never with something so out of the box. I like pumpkin so I figured why not.
I have an estimating problem I guess you would call it. For example, with left overs I rarely pick a container that's just right, normally its too small, or gigantic. With furniture I have a difficult time not only imagining how things will look in a space but how they'll fit. I was convinced our sectional we got for our tv room would block most of the entrance to the area. I was totally wrong.
Same goes with serving sizes of food, I worry about running out so I generally double the amount that's necessary. So I end up with left overs. That I put in wrong sized containers. Viscous cycle.
That being said I doubled this recipe for about 16 people or so. We never touched the second batch. Oops!
Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
Adapted from: http://www.pbs.org/food/fresh-tastes/pumpkin-mac-and-cheese/
- 16 oz small shell pasta (I used orecchiette)
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp flour
- 4 cups milk
- 16 oz grated cheese blend
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree (1/2 15-oz can)
- 1.5 tsp minced fresh rosemary (I used a little over 2 tsp of dried)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp pepper
- ¼ tsp cayenne (you can use another ¼ if you like a bit more of a kick)
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cook pasta in boiling salted water. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- In a heavy saucepot over medium high heat, melt the butter and add the flour. Whisk together and cook for thirty seconds. Add 2 cups milk and minced rosemary and whisk until smooth. Add another cup of the milk (reserving one cup) and continue to whisk. Cook for four minutes while whisking.
- Add 12 ounces of the grated mixed cheese (reserving about a handful of grated cheese) and stir well so that the cheese melts. Add the salt, pepper and cayenne followed by the additional cup of milk and the pumpkin puree.
- Once everything is smooth, add the cooked macaroni and toss well. Pour into a 9″13″ casserole pan and top with the remaining grated cheese and the breadcrumbs.
- Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.
Super super super good. My only downfall was in the original directions it claimed the sauce was going to get thick. It never happened to me. So in my11.00 pm fervor of trying to prep this dish the night before the party I kept adding, and adding, and adding flour and it still never got thick. Definitely a mistake. While the taste was lovely the texture was not.
On that note I made this (cooked pasta, sauce etc) the night before, covered it in saran wrap and put in the fridge overnight and it turned out just fine. I had added the breadcrumbs the night before but it might have been better to add them right before putting it in the oven. Overall a delicious dish that I'm excited to try again (when Michael and I aren't trying to eat healthy).
What are some of your favorite holiday dishes? Favorite holiday experiments?