Everything Thanksgiving, I like to do something different but with the fall flavor staples. This year, pumpkin was of course a must and every good Thanksgiving needs mac and cheese, so why not try and put these two things together? I know I know…you just questioned me, but trust me when I say this thing was AMAZING. Between the flavors of the cheese and pumpkin and then the addition of the pepita crust, it will now become a side dish at every Thanksgiving. I mean come on, who doesn’t love mac and cheese and pumpkin?! Imagine them together…trust me, you will love it.
- 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
- In a large pot, boil water and cook macaroni according to box directions.
- 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.
- When milk, flour and butter begins to thicken add dry mustard, nutmeg, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper.
- Reduce heat to low, add cheddar cheese and pumpkin puree. Stir well.
- Remove from heat. Mix in cooked and well drained macaroni pasta.
- Pour into a greased baking dish.
- Melt one tablespoon of butter. Place pepita’s in a ziplock bag, sealed tightly. Using a rolling pin, crush pepita’s into fine pieces.
- In a small bowl, mix melted butter, pepitas and panko bread crumbs.
- Sprinkle panko and pepita mixture evenly on top of mac and cheese.
- 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.