Pumpkin Mac & Cheese
Something about Fall makes me want to put pumpkin in everything. I’ve seen pumpkin mac & cheese around lately in restaurants and on other blogs, so I decided to take a crack at my own recipe for it. I already knew pumpkin and pasta work well together from the Sausage & Pumpkin Pasta I’ve made in the past, so while it may sound strange to some I was already on board.
The first thing you need to know is that adding pumpkin to a roux or cheese sauce will automatically give it the richest, creamiest texture you could ever hope to achieve without loading it up with fat. It’s actually kind of amazing. I used mustard powder and nutmeg to season Stovetop Mac & Cheese in the past, so those sounded good again and I also decided to add rubbed sage since it worked so well in the Sausage & Pumpkin Pasta. I also initially tried to make this with goat cheese (because I love it so much) but unfortunately it wasn’t a great match for the dish and the flavor seemed off. Replacing it with sharp cheddar gave it the perfect balance between pumpkin and cheese. This dish is warm, comforting, decadent, creamy, rich and perfect for Fall. I recommend sprinkling a little dash of Pumpkin Pie Spice on your serving before eating it because it enhances the pumpkin-y Autumn flavors even more. Don’t be alarmed, Pumpkin Pie Spice is not sweet and will not interfere with this being a savory dish.
If you love mac and cheese and you’re looking for a fun flavor twist for Fall, this dish is for you!
Pumpkin Mac & Cheese
Yield: 6 (1 cup) servings
- 12 oz box of high fiber macaroni pasta (such as Ronzoni Smart Taste or Barilla White Fiber) or wheat macaroni
- 2 tablespoons light butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 ½ cups skim milk
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
- 4 oz sharp cheddar cheese (I used extra sharp), shredded (I recommend buying a block of cheese and grating 4 oz of it with a box grater rather than buying a bag of shredded cheese. It’s so much more flavorful)
- Optional Garnish: Pumpkin Pie spice, sprinkled to taste
- Bring water to boil in a large pot and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return the past to the pot.
- While step one is happening, melt the butter over low heat in a medium saucepan. When butter is melted, add flour and stir together for about one minute. Add the milk. Whisk together until and flour clumps are thoroughly mixed in and bring to a simmer. Simmer for a minute or so until thickened and then stir. Add in pumpkin, salt, pepper, nutmeg, mustard powder and sage. Stir together. Add in the cheese and stir until cheese is melted into the sauce and combined.
- Pour the cheese sauce over the macaroni and stir together until macaroni is coated. Sprinkle a little pumpkin pie spice over each serving and enjoy.
Weight Watchers Freestyle SmartPoints:
10 per serving (SP calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)
Weight Watchers Points Plus:
9 per serving (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)
313 calories, 50 g carbs, 2 g sugars, 9 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 13 g protein, 6 g fiber (from myfitnesspal.com)
An Emily Bites Original