With Starbucks’ release of the pumpkin spice latte, it’s only a matter of time before every recipe is pumpkin-filled. Pumpkin is really fun to cook with, but I think it’s more the pumpkin spices that people enjoy – not exactly the orange fruit itself (yes, it’s a fruit!). I love those warm spices, but I think pumpkin has so much more potential than just the sweet, spiced drinks and desserts. This macaroni and cheese is just one idea for delicious savory pumpkin recipe (and it’s super easy)…
This pasta is black bean rotini from Trader Joe’s. It’s gluten free which is great for many people, but it also helps make this dish more festive. I can’t decide if it’s purple or black in this dish, so you can pick! The pasta water drains just like a can of black beans, which makes me feel better about the ingredients. The texture is a bit squishier than the whole wheat pasta I’m used to. If I make it again, I may take a minute or two off the cooking time.
The paprika here provides a bit more depth to the dish – rather than just pasta, cheese, and pumpkin, which in reality could be very bland. I think you could up the paprika or even used smoked paprika. My husband even wondered about adding chilis to the mix, which I’m sure would be tasty. If you think of the pumpkin as more of a squash than just a pie filling, you’ll open up pandora’s box in your spice cabinet to find delicious pairings.
PUMPKIN MACARONI + CHEESE
I love making festive food, but I don't love food dyes. Recipes like this pumpkin macaroni and cheese fit all my needs. The black bean pasta gives you that dark, scary vibe and the vibrant pumpkin, cheesy goodness just brings it all together. Just try not to get spooked too much!
- 12 oz. medium-pasta black bean rotini used here
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 3/4 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dry ground mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1-15 oz. can pumpkin puree
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese don't use pre-shredded
- fresh thyme
Cook pasta according to package directions w. 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 teaspoons salt added to boiling water.
Meanwhile, heat large pot over medium heat. Melt butter. Add flour, whisking constantly to avoid clumps, until flour is incorporated (should not turn brown). Slowly add milk, continuing to whisk constantly. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, mustard, paprika, and ginger. Add pumpkin puree. Whisk until incorporated.
Add the cheddar in two batches. Whisk until smooth.
Drain pasta well. Add pasta to cheese-pumpkin mix. Remove from heat. Mix pasta and cheese until pasta is evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.