pumpkin macaroni & cheese
I thought it was only appropriate to kick off October with another pumpkin recipe! But instead of sweets, this time it’s pumpkin-meets-savory-comfort-food with this Pumpkin Macaroni & Cheese!
I was going back and forth today, though, about whether to just make the macaroni plain on the stovetop or bake it up with some extra breadcrumbs. So I turned to my favorite research lab – Instagram. And you all are awesome! Within minutes, I had a long list of your heartfelt convictions about mac and cheese. Breadcrumbs or no breadcrumbs. Baked or stovetop.
While I admittedly tend towards being a mac and cheese purist, and like it just served straight from the stovetop, the overwhelming majority of responses voted to have this baked with breadcrumbs. So your wish is my command! And to be honest, I think you may be onto something here. This recipe turned out to be absolutely delicious! Loved the creamy, smoky cheddar pumpkin sauce. And then once it was baked to bubbly perfection, those toasted breadcrumbs definitely did give it an extra comfort-food-y kick. So good!
(Although for you purists, I should note that you could easily serve this recipe as stovetop macaroni. I did a little taste-test before popping this in the oven, and pretty much had to will myself to let the dish disappear into the oven for another half hour!)
However you make it, I’m pretty sure you’re going to love this one. Enjoy!!
Smoky Pumpkin Macaroni & Cheese
- 2 (12-ounce) cans 2% evaporated milk
- 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne
- 1 lb. dry pasta (I used large elbow macaroni)
- 16 oz. shredded cheese of your choice (I used a combination of various aged cheddar cheeses)
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I used Panko for extra crunch)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 9x13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta, and then return the pasta back to the pot.
Meanwhile (while the pasta is cooking), in a separate bowl, whisk together the evaporated milk, pumpkin puree, eggs, smoked paprika, salt, pepper and cayenne until combined. Once the pasta is cooked and drained, pour the evaporated milk mixture into the pot with the pasta and stir until combined. Continue cooking over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for about 3-4 minutes, or until the sauce comes to a simmer and thickens.
Remove pan from heat and stir in about 12 oz. of the shredded cheese and the Parmesan until melted and evenly-distributed.
**If you would like to bake the macaroni and cheese with breadcrumbs, continue onto these final steps. Or you can serve the macaroni as-is at this point from the stovetop.**
Pour about half of the pasta into the prepared baking pan. Then sprinkle with half of the remaining cheese. Pour the remainder of the pasta to make a second layer, then sprinkle with the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and the breadcrumbs are toasted. Remove and serve immediately.
Ali’s Tip: This would also be awesome baked and/or sprinkled with roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)!