Mac & cheese made with gruyere, cheddar, and pumpkin. The perfect recipe to celebrate fall weather that even non-pumpkin fans will enjoy
Pumpkin might sound strange to add to macaroni and cheese, but it's actually quite delicious.
As you can see by the small hands in the photos, I had a helper with this recipe: my niece. And while she didn't actually taste the mac & cheese, her picky brother did. And he actually ended up eating and enjoying it. Total win in my book.
But the most important part is that the grown-ups really liked this, and my family aren't huge fans of pumpkin. I like a little pumpkin but only a hint of it. I hate pumpkin pie and anything like that.
However, I really enjoyed this; the pumpkin flavor isn't very strong and you might only notice it if you know it's made with pumpkin. It's similar to using butternut squash in savory recipes.
This Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese has a savory, cheesy flavor that is perfectly complemented with the rosemary. I used a combination of gruyere for its delicious flavor plus sharp cheddar for the cheeses.
I made this gluten-free because that happened to be the pasta I grabbed at the store. However, it would be good with any type of whole grain pasta (for extra fiber and nutrients), but I really enjoyed the brown rice pasta.
I like that this Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese has two veggies - pumpkin and onions - in there to add extra nutrients to this comfort food dish. Plus, the pumpkin helps stretch the sauce and makes it thicker.
This Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese makes about 10 cups, so it can serve 8-10. Leftovers reheat well and freeze well too.
If you are not a fan of rosemary, I think you could use sage, as it works well with pumpkin in savory recipes. However, I have only tried this with rosemary so I don't know for sure.
One last thing... this mac & cheese only uses one pan. Less clean-up is always a bonus! Enjoy!
Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese
- 4 cups pasta shells any whole grain pasta
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1 large onion diced (2 cups)
- 2 cloves garlic minced (2 teaspoons)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 cups 2% milk or whole, do not use skim
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- 15 ounce can 100% pure pumpkin not pumpkin pie mix
- 6 ounces cheddar cheese shredded (1-1/2 cups)
- 2 ounces gruyere cheese shredded (1/2 cup)
- Bring a large Dutch over or pot of water to a boil. Add pasta shells and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking water, and set aside; don't rinse the pasta.
- Return the Dutch oven to the stove and heat over medium-high. Add butter and onions. Sauté until onion is softened and lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and cornstarch. Stir well for about 1 minute.
- Whisk in milk slowly to completely incorporate. Add salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, rosemary, and bay leaf. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 5-10 minutes until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally.
- Remove bay leaf and stir in pumpkin. Make sure it is completely combined. Stir in cheeses and mix until cheese has melted. Add in cooked pasta and stir well. Remove from heat and serve. Enjoy!