National Pumpkin Day | Creamy Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
Thanksgiving is almost here! I love Thanksgiving for the turkey (and better yet, the turkey sandwiches the next day), my aunt’s mashed potatoes, Spanish-style green beans, and the one time of the year that I crave sweet potato casserole.
Not to be a downer over here, but I am not thankful for Pumpkin Pie. With or without whip, make by a restaurant or by the best cook in the family, I have hater blockers on for this pie (but I am tolerant of it now and again). I don’t enjoy the taste or the texture and I can’t see the obsession that many have. So, I was determined to not make pumpkin pie for National Pumpkin Day.
Today, on National Pumpkin Day, I have something I think will make you very happy readers: Creamy Pumpkin Mac and Cheese.
It all started when I spotted more and more pumpkin recipes online and exclamations from friends that Pumpkin Spice Lattes were back at Starbucks and I thought that it would be perfect to incorporate pumpkin into one of my favorite foods. A creamy and savory mac and cheese, with just a tinge of sweetness, was exactly what I had in mind.
Yes, this recipe has pumpkin in it and I am not a big pumpkin lover, but I have to say that I created a very nice balance between the components. While the pumpkin flavor is present, it’s not overpowering and actually, it changes a little bit when combined with the other ingredients.
If you love pumpkin, you’ll love this. If you hate pumpkin, you’ll still love this. You are welcome, folks.
On a side note, I left the rest with a friend and she promptly threw the noodles in a casserole dish, covered with parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs and baked for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Delicious.
Creamy Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 cups milk
- 1/3 cup apple cider
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 8 oz (1 cup) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 3 oz cream cheese
- 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 16 ounces (1 pound) tube pasta (I used rigatoni, but penne, ziti, or elbow noodles work great)
- 8 slices of bacon
- Sage leaves for pretty garnish
- Cook noodles according to package directions.
- In a skillet, cook bacon and set aside on paper towels to absorb extra grease. When cooled, break bacon apart into smaller pieces.
- In a medium pot, mix the butter with the flour. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture is smooth and slightly thickened.
- Remove from heat and stir in milk and apple cider. Return to heat and bring to a low boil.
- Mix in salt, pepper, paprika, shredded cheese, cream cheese and pumpkin and combine until smooth.
- Toss mixture with prepared pasta.
- Top each serving with bacon pieces and use the sage leaves as a garnish.
DID YOU KNOW: The word ‘pumpkin’ comes from the Greek word meaning ‘large melon’. Pumpkins ripen in cooler weather which is why they are most popular during, and have become synonymous with, fall. Also, Dorie Greenspan created a recipe called “Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good” that looks pretty epic.