Pumpkin Mac & Cheese with Pepita Crust



  • 3 tablespoons butter 
  • 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour 
  • 2 cups of milk, room temperature 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dry mustard 
  • 1/4 ground black pepper 
  • 1/3 teaspoon of salt 
  • 8 oz box of elbow macaroni 
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8 oz of canned pumpkin 
  • Pinch of nutmeg 
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper 
  • 1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs 
  • 1/2 cup of shelled roasted + salted pepita's


  1. In a large pot, boil water and cook macaroni according to box directions. 
  2. Start by making a roux. In a medium sauce pan melt 2 tablespoons of butter and slowly add flour while constantly stirring. Then slowly add milk, while continuing to stir.  
  3. When milk, flour and butter begins to thicken add dry mustard, nutmeg, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper. 
  4. Reduce heat to low, add cheddar cheese and pumpkin puree. Stir well. 
  5. Remove from heat. Mix in cooked and well drained macaroni pasta.
  6. Pour into a greased baking dish. 
  7. Melt one tablespoon of butter. Place pepita's in a ziplock bag, sealed tightly. Using a rolling pin, crush pepita's into fine pieces.
  8. In a small bowl, mix melted butter, pepitas and panko bread crumbs. 
  9. Sprinkle panko and pepita mixture evenly on top of mac and cheese. 
  10. Bake in a 350° oven for 25 minutes, covered. Uncover and bake an additional 5-7 mins and allow crumb topping to get slightly golden. 

serves 8