Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
Pumpkin Mac and Cheese is brought to you by the double fist pump.
- Sneaking in your cocktail order just before Happy Hour ends: Double fist pump.
- The cute shoes on clearance are actually your size: Double fist pump.
- Your favorite dance tune is on the radio when you turn on the car: Double fist pump.
- The outrageously decadent pasta you’re shoveling in your face turns out to be good for you: QUADRUPLE FIST PUMP!
Pumpkin Mac and Cheese is creamy, dreamy, cheesy pasta love, gone deceptively light. While I can’t promote Pumpkin Mac and Cheese as a health food per se, you will be hard pressed to find another healthy mac and cheese recipe that tastes this rich, while actually being reasonably good for you. We owe this double fist pump-worthy miracle to two super ingredients: pumpkin puree and my favorite healthy cooking weapon, Greek yogurt.
The pumpkin puree and the Greek yogurt add guilt-free depth and body to the sauce. Fear not, cheese still represents—surely you know this Wisconsin resident well enough to realize I would never deny you cheese. Extra-sharp cheddar and Parmesan bring big cheese taste, but a little of these two flavor-jammers goes a long way. When the gooey cheddar melts with the creamy pumpkin sauce, the pumpkin flavor mellows and the cheddar steals the spotlight. This is macaroni and cheese afterall. All is well with the world.
We enhance our luscious pumpkin cheddar sauce with a touch of nutmeg to complement the pumpkin’s natural flavors, as well as a subtle kick of cayenne and dry mustard, just to keep everyone awake.
Now, we could leave our velvety Pumpkin Mac and Cheese as is and live happily ever after, but mac and cheese is meant to be comfort food. Enter crispy bacon and caramelized onions to add an extra layer of flavor and richness. Plus, adding caramelized onions to anything renders it instantly appropriate to serve at a fancy dinner party.
Do serve Pumpkin Mac and Cheese at your next fancy dinner party. A fancy dinner party with Pumpkin Mac and Cheese is wayyyyy more fun than a fancy dinner party without it. Just ask anyone—they’ll agree. You are about to be the Hostess of the Year.
Now, let’s talk topping. No self-respecting baked mac and cheese dish would be complete without that gloriously golden Parmesan breadcrumb crust. At our apartment, I insist on being the one to dish out the Pumpkin Mac and Cheese, because I relish that first moment of crashing the serving spoon through the wondrous breadcrumb crust to reach the creamy, saucy noodles underneath.
Plus, when I serve Pumpkin Mac and Cheese, I can strategically sneak any excess topping onto my own plate. I call this the “cook’s privilege.” (The cook’s privilege logic also applies to brownie batter that’s left on the beaters, excess frosting, and the largest slice of pie.)
Dive right on into a big bowl of velvety Pumpkin Mac and Cheese. Be sure to sneak yourself an extra scoop of the crusty golden topping, and set your fork down for one reason only: to give the double fist pump!