Thanksgiving Week: Pumpkin Mac And Cheese

Thanksgiving Week: Pumpkin Mac And Cheese

I love thanksgiving. I’m so American that way. Its by far my favorite holiday, just great food and lots of family and friends. I always look forward to my mom’s sweet potato pie, sausage stuffing and homemade pumpkin pie. My aunt, who is a baking genius, spends a day making pies. I think her record is 17. Last year she made three turkeys, nobody throws a thanksgiving feast like her. The holiday is no small affair for our family.

As an American living in Canada, I score two Thanksgings: one in October and the American holiday in November. So I have loads of reasons to search out recipes that require pumpkin, sweet potato or turkey. With a mac and cheese aficianado in the household, finding a pumpkin version of the comfort dish was a no brainer. I’d sourced a few that included worchestire sauce and ground mustard, but I wanted to keep mine a bit sweet to appeal to Scarlett’s taste. She couldn’t wait to get started. Neither could I, frankly.

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

2 cups shell pasta
2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup milk
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated gruyere, plus two tablespoons
1/2 shaved parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 all spice
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 350.
Add pasta to boiling water. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until al dente. (Follow directions for packaging. Drain and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, warm the pumpkin puree. Pour in the milk. Add the parmesan, cheddar and gruyere cheeses and blend until melted. Stir in the cinnamon and all spice. Once all the cheeses are melted and spices combined, pour the pumpkin mixture into the pasta. Spoon the noodles into ramekins. Sprinkle with extra gruyere and bread crumbs.
Place ramekins in oven and cook until cheese melts and bread crumbs brown, about 10 minutes.
Cool and serve as a side dish or as an entree with vegetables.
Scarlett measured the pumpkin and grated all the cheeses as I tended to the stove. But once it was time to do all the blending, she jumped right in and took over.

She had the ingredients mixed and filled into the bowls in no time. This entire dish, from start to finish, only took about 20 minutes. Tops. It was ideal because we prepared it one morning so I didn’t have to worry about dinner later. We were going to be at her gymnastics class, so I wanted to be able to just pop them into the oven when we got home. I’d made some breadcrumbs earlier in the week that I’d crumbled baked Kale into, so they made a nice topping.
If you love pumpkin like me, these were a tiny slice of pumpkin-y heaven. Let the holiday fun begin…

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