Savory fall vibes coming right up! The pumpkin puree adds extra creaminess to this Big Batch Pumpkin Mac ‘n Cheese just in time for holiday entertaining.
The waiter came to clear my plate, and I rather sheepishly apologized for the trail of elbow noodles speckling the table. The scraps marked the path of a cheesy fork, enthusiastically dipped into a crock of truffle mac ‘n cheese with a baked, crusty top. Of course there was spillage!
That Chelsea Market version was a far cry from the organic boxed mac ‘n cheese we had made just a few weeks ago. Paired with a side of peas, roasted chicken thighs and a heaping serving of Netflix, it was like the simple cousin of the bustling market’s truffle mac ‘n cheese and the fall-off-your-fork short ribs. Yet, both versions brought that synonymous feeling synonymous: comfort!
This Pumpkin Mac ‘n Cheese boasts the coveted creamy comfort but with a fall twist. The pumpkin enhances the cheesiness, creamy texture and adds a Vitamin A boost. Brussels Sprouts and chickpeas increase your veggie and legume intake, but the real game changer is the caramelized onion cheddar.
Just in time for the holidays, this Pumpkin Mac ‘n Cheese is a bigger batch recipe, so make two skillets for the main holiday event or for the days before the big feast, as relatives arrive from their separate corners. You can easily make this recipe gluten-free too if that’s a concern for your guests.
Here’s to adding some healthy twists to comfort food, no matter how you dress it up this holiday season.
Big Batch Pumpkin Mac ‘n Cheese
Want this recipe as a download? Pumpkin Mac ‘n Cheese by With The Grains
Yield: Makes 2 cast iron skillets
About this Recipe: Savory fall vibes coming right up! The pumpkin puree adds to the creamy, cheesy pasta dish. Use a flavored cheddar, such as cheddar with caramelized onions, for an extra savory dish. This dish can easily be made gluten free by substituting a gluten-free option for the butternut squash pasta. Bon appétit!
For a Gluten-Free Option: Omit the zuchette butternut squash pasta and double the red lentil pasta. Or, use a combo of brown rice pasta and lentil pasta. Substitute a whole-grain, gluten-free flour for the wheat flour such as brown rice flour, oat flour or teff flour.
14 oz fall zuchette butternut squash pasta
12 oz red lentil sedanini pasta
31 oz (2 cans) chickpeas, rinsed
16 oz brussels sprouts, halved
3 Tbls. butter (plus extra for topping)
3 Tbls. whole wheat flour
3 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½-1 teaspoon ground turmeric (optional)
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
2 cups grated caramelized onion cheddar (or plain sharp cheddar)
2 cups grated gruyere cheese
1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
¾ cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup nutritional yeast
¼ cup hemp hearts
fresh or fried sage for garnish
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Fill large pot with enough water to cover the pasta, add both the pastas, and cook pasta according to package directions, until the pasta is al dente (it will cook more as it bakes in the oven). Drain, and return the pasta to the pot. Add the chickpeas and Brussels sprout halves, and set aside.
In large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk well, cooking the flour/butter mixture for 1 minute. Slowly add the milk while continuing to whisk. Bring the milk mixture to a simmer, and continue cooking and stirring mixture until sauce is thickened a bit, about 5 minutes.
Add the salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, ground turmeric and the dijon mustard. Stir well to combine. Add the pumpkin puree, and stir to combine. Add the cheeses, and stir until cheese melts. Remove from heat and add the sauce to the pasta mix. Toss well, then transfer the mixture to a cast iron skillet or a casserole dish. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast and hemp hearts.
Bake about 20-30 minutes, until hot and bubbly and the topping is golden brown.
Garnish with fresh sage or lightly fried sage, and enjoy!