Putting Pumpkin in all Places

Just call me the Pumpkin Princess. Lately, I’m really not sure there’s a place where you couldn’t put pumpkin. I’m pretty much in awe of it’s superfood-status. Not only is it super-nutritious (as I have told you only about a million times) but it’s seriously super in cooking. Pumpkin can replace fat in baking while keeping things moist. Pumpkin in chili produces a superbly rich texture. Pumpkin in oatmeal makes a morning favorite even more hearty. Sometimes it’s flavor stands out and other times it backs away and the pumpkin’s role is more about texture. Finally, I discovered just how wonderfully hearty pumpkin can be in macaroni and cheese. It really succeeds in bulking up the dish texturally and nutritionally, and of course, colorfully! Eating a bowl of mac n cheese pumped up with pumpkin is truly a treat. I won’t pretend to have though of this completely on my own, as I have seen several variations of mac n cheese made with butternut squash puree, and that is almost the same thing. But pumpkin puree, out of a can, is just as nutritious, only more convenient. I knew the pumpkin would provide the bulk of the sauce, so that I could get away with a small amount of cheese if I chose strong flavors. I used pecorino romano and smoked gouda, which I had picked up at a farmers’ market. Spinach and chicken sausage rounded out the dish. This was so easy and delicious! I do hope you try it and like it this much-more-nutritious version of a classic dish. We will certainly be trying it again soon, since I split the meal and saved half in the freezer.

Pumpkin & Smoked Gouda Mac n Cheese

Note: I added cooked, sliced chicken sausage to the macaroni before baking, but the recipe and nutritional information are shown without. I did this because the nutritional information will change depending on what brand of chicken sausage you use.

8oz small pasta, such as elbow macaroni or little shells
1/4 cup finely diced onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup nonfat milk
4 oz smoked gouda cheese, grated
1/2 tsp dried mustard
pinch of nutmeg
freshly ground salt & pepper
5 oz spinach, roughly chopped
1 oz grated pecorino romano cheese

Preheat oven to 350F. Cook pasta al dente, according to directions on the box.

In a medium saucepan coated with cooking spray over medium-low heat, cook the onions until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook one minute more. Add the milk and pumpkin, stirring to combine. Increase heat to medium high, and continue cooking for a few minutes more, until thickened. Add the gouda cheese and stir to melt. Season with the mustard, nutmeg, salt & pepper.

Drain the pasta and return to pot; add cheese mixture and stir to coat. Add sausage if using, and the spinach, and stir to wil the spinach. Transfer to a baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with the pecorino romano cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes, until hot and lightly browned on top.

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 419.9
Total Fat: 13.9 g
Cholesterol: 45.7 mg
Sodium: 530.9 mg
Total Carbs: 59.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 10.8 g
Protein: 22.9 g

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14 Responses to “Putting Pumpkin in all Places”

  1. 1

    Patsyk — October 27, 2008 @ 1:28 am Reply

    I never would have thought to add pumpkin to mac & cheese. Great idea!

  2. 2

    lauren — October 27, 2008 @ 1:45 pm Reply

    this pasta looks and sounds great!!

  3. 3

    Maria — October 29, 2008 @ 2:36 pm Reply

    Looks like a yummy dish to me!

  4. 4

    lauren — March 28, 2011 @ 8:53 pm Reply

    this pasta looks and sounds great!!

  5. 5

    Patsyk — March 28, 2011 @ 8:53 pm Reply

    I never would have thought to add pumpkin to mac & cheese. Great idea!

  6. 6

    Maria — March 28, 2011 @ 8:53 pm Reply

    Looks like a yummy dish to me!

  7. 7

    Maria — March 29, 2011 @ 2:06 am Reply

    Looks like a yummy dish to me!

  8. 8

    lauren — March 29, 2011 @ 2:06 am Reply

    this pasta looks and sounds great!!

  9. 9

    Maria — April 5, 2011 @ 1:21 am Reply

    Looks like a yummy dish to me!

  10. 10

    Mollie — October 12, 2011 @ 11:27 pm Reply

    I have made this twice and my kids LOVE it. They have been begging me to make it again. This is the first homemade macaroni and cheese recipe that my little ones have liked. Now they won't eat macaroni from a box. 🙂  I love how the pumpkin makes it creamy without having to put in large quantities of cheese. I used spinach and roasted pepper sausage from Costco. This is AMAZING! 

  11. 11

    Cara — October 12, 2011 @ 11:31 pm Reply

    Hi Mollie, so glad you liked it! It makes my day to get comments like this, especially on my older recipes. It's awesome to know people are still reading them 🙂

  12. 12

    Yocelyn Suarez — October 30, 2011 @ 12:29 pm Reply

    Oh…my….goodness.. This looks amazing!

  13. 13

    Culinary Collage — December 21, 2011 @ 2:15 pm Reply

    I make a homemade mac and cheese, but this one sounds like a really nice change from the standard varieties.   

  14. Pingback: Pumpkin Gouda Mac’n’cheese « culinarianlibrarian

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