This is not macaroni and cheese. I refuse to call it that. I have never liked mac n cheese. I think I have something against those elbow shapes, for no apparent reason. So to my mind, this is pasta with a cheese sauce or if I want it to sound extra fancy, I will call it mornay (french cheese sauce). Now, I always add veggies to my pasta, and sometimes beans or chickpeas too, so its not that much of a stretch to add in some pumpkin. It gives the sauce a lovely color too, adds fiber and nutrients, and allows me to use less cheese and milk to get the creamy consistency. It even gives a hint of sweetness. Now onto the recipe for mac… I mean, well, you know.
This recipe makes four servings. Here is what I did:
- 2TBS butter
- 2Tbs flour
- 1c milk
- 1/2c pumpkin liquid (or use more milk)
- 1TBS dijon or wholegrain prepared mustard
- 1/2tsp turmeric (do you know about turmerics health benefits? Throw some in everything!)
- 1 tsp red chili powder or cayenne
- 1/2c pumpkin puree
- salt to taste and lots of pepper
- a little grated nutmeg
- 4 oz cheese, grated(I used this cheddar-gruyere blend that I found at Trader Joes)
- 2 c (or half a bag) of pasta – I used fuscilli
- 2oz cheese- grated
- 2TBS butter
- 3TBS panko breadcrumbs
Boil the pasta in water as directed.
In the meantime, start to make the sauce. Melt butter in a saucepan, once melted add in the flour. Stir it around and get out any lumps. Let the flour cook in the butter for a couple minutes. This is called a roux and thickens the sauce. Then whisk in the milk/liquid slowly. Add in the mustard and spices. Let the mixture boil until it is thickened (enough to coat the back of a spoon). Then mix in the pumpkin and the cheese. Once melted, turn off the heat.
Drain the pasta and mix it into the sauce. At this point you could serve this as is. But if you want to go fancier, not to mention add the delectable crispy crust (which just might be the best part) continue on.
Preheat the oven to 375 while making your sauce. Melt the butter and mix with the breadcrumbs. Spoon the pasta into an oven proof baking dish. Top with some shredded cheese and then the breadcrumbs. Bake for about 20 mins or until breadcrumbs are golden brown. We love to have this with hot sauce or pesto.
I am submitting this to Vegetarian Foodie Fridays 🙂