Cheddar Pumpkin Mac and Cheese is an easy and delicious autumn meal. Option to serve as stovetop macaroni in under 30 minutes, or turn into a crunchy casserole.
My first new pumpkin recipe of the season! At the time of this writing, the start of autumn is 2 days away. That's officially when pumpkin is everywhere in drinks and food and life. One of many reasons it is my favorite season.
I promised I would continue making more quick and easy meals, and this is fulfilling that promise. If you serve as stove-top macaroni you'll be ready to eat in about 20 to 25 minutes. And as a way to mix it up, either for leftovers or if you just want to make a crispier version, I'll tell you how to make it into a casserole.
I've been almost drowning in macaroni lately because of testing this recipe. I tried a thicker sauce with less milk, I tried adding pumpkin spice (kind of unnecessary but go for it if you want), less pumpkin, more pumpkin, sharp or mild cheddar, parmesan cheese or not. You get the idea.
I ended up preferring the creamier version, with a whole can of pumpkin instead of one cup, and no parmesan. And definitely sharp cheddar cheese.
Now if you want to turn into a cheddar pumpkin mac and cheese casserole, just pour into a pan and top with panko. I like this as a way to re-purpose leftovers, so my casserole used 5 cups macaroni and 1/3 cup panko. (In a 9-inch pan.)
However much macaroni you use, just make sure you have enough bread crumbs to cover the entire dish, and then bake at 400F for about 20 minutes. I like to add a few minutes under the broiler at the end for an extra crisp. But if you're anything like me and tend to walk away and forget about things, don't do that.
- 1 lb. macaroni pasta (16 oz.)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk (I used 2%)
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (8 oz.)
- 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/3 cup cup panko bread crumbs, if making into a casserole
- In a large pot, cook macaroni according to package instructions and drain.
- Meanwhile, in a medium pot melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour for a couple minutes until thickened. Add milk and stir in for a couple more minutes.
- Add cheddar cheese and pumpkin to milk mixture, and whisk until melted.
- Pour cheese mixture over the drained pasta and mix until evenly coated. Top with salt and pepper.
- Can serve as is at this point or proceed to casserole instructions.
If making into a casserole:
- Pour desired amount of mac and cheese into a casserole dish (see notes) and top with panko. Bake at 400°F for about 20 minutes until bread crumbs are toasted. Option to finish cooking time with a few minutes under the broiler for extra browning, but be sure to keep an eye on it!
If turning entire batch of macaroni into a casserole, you will need at least a 13 inch casserole dish and up to 1/2 cup panko. I like to turn leftovers into a casserole, so I used about 5 cups macaroni in a 9 inch dish, with 1/3 cup panko.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 487Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 85mgSodium: 550mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 23g
Nutrition information is calculated automatically by an online tool at Nutritionix. It is not always accurate. Please use your own tools to check if you rely on this information.