Pumpkin Mac ‘n’ Cheese

This month, we’re asking food bloggers to share their go-to fall pastas, and today’s recipe looks incredible: PUMPKIN mac n’ cheese from Erin of Naturally Ella. Here goes…

Pumpkin Mac ‘n’ Cheese
By Erin Alderson of Naturally Ella

I’m a complete fall junkie, and it shows in the amount of pumpkin and sweet potato dishes I make during the cooler months. However, my husband isn’t as keen on squash as I am, and will often pick around it. This macaroni and cheese is such a comfort dish and I love the creaminess of the pureed pumpkin—plus my husband can’t even tell that pumpkin is hiding in it! I also love using other squash (like butternut) or sweet potatoes. Blue cheese, caramelized onions and spinach are great additions, too.

Recipe: Pumpkin Mac ‘n’ Cheese
Makes 3-4 servings

You’ll need:
1 small pie pumpkin
3 cups (8 oz.) pasta
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp. fresh minced thyme
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 cup 2% milk
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 pieces wheat bread
1/4 cup hazelnuts (optional)
1 tbsp. olive oil

What to do:
Preheat oven to 400F. Slice pumpkin in half, scoop out seeds and place both halves cut-side down in a baking dish. Pour enough water in the pan to form a 1/4″ layer. Place pumpkin in the oven and roast until tender, 45-55 minutes. Let cool slightly and scoop out flesh. Measure 1 cup and set aside.

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add pasta and cook until just tender, 6-7 minutes. Strain and set aside.

In a saucepan, heat butter until melted. Mince garlic and add to the pot. Cook for 1 minute. Whisk in flour, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook and whisk for another minute. In a blender, combine pumpkin puree and milk, blending until smooth. Pour mixture into the saucepan and whisk until well combined. Cook, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens, 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and add in shredded cheese, stirring until cheese melts.

Combine pasta and cheese mixture into an 9×9 baking dish or a pan similar in size. In a food processor, pulse together slices of bread and hazelnuts. With the food processor running, pour in olive oil. Sprinkle mixture over the macaroni and cheese.

Bake in the 400F oven for 20-25 minutes until the top is browning and cheese is bubbling. Serve warm.

Notes: The pumpkin can be roasted up to a day ahead of time. If making gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta and 3 tablespoons cornstarch in place of the flour.
Delicious. Thank you, Erin!

P.S. More best recipes, including a grown-up grilled cheese and cheesy spaghetti sauce.

(Photos and recipe by Erin Alderson of Naturally Ella. Thanks to Shoko for helping with this series.)

  1. Nicolle says...

    can you used canned pure pumpkin puree instead of roasting a pumpkin?

  2. Pumpkins are everywhere at the moment, but I’d never even thought about pumpkin mac’n’cheese…. it’s such a fantastic idea!

    … Would it be a totally inappropriate thing to make at gone midnight?! I have more or less all of the ingredients!

  3. As my mother the queen of etiquette would always say, “don’t yuck my yum!” :)

  4. This sounds and looks delish! :)

  5. anyone know if this would taste good with meat in it as well? For. ex. ground beef/hamburger? Or is that too weird of a combination: pumpkin and ground beef??

  6. I’m sorry but this sounds disgusting. Any good recipes for
    Indian food would be much appreciated!

  7. oh my gahd. yes please. right now!

  8. You should compile all these recipes in a book, Joanna! I’d love to have it. :)

    All my love from Spain,


  9. Hey Celeste! I snuck in measuring out 1 cup of the puree, so you’ll be able to sub 1 for 1 of the pre-made puree!

  10. Hey Celeste! I snuck in pulling out a cup of the puree- so all you’ll need to do is use a cup of the pre-made puree!

  11. Thanks!! Trying this for dinner tonight!

  12. This looks great, though I’m not patient enough after work to start with a whole pumpkin. I’m totally using Libby’s. Trying to track down a good equivalent, though.

    Anyone know how much puree a pumpkin this size will make?

  13. You have to stop with the food posts before lunch… you’re killing me! And this apple just ain’t cuttin’ it.

  14. OMG yum! Trying this one immediately!

  15. Loving the flavor/texture combo of this dish!

  16. The link to Ella’s site is incomplete…doesn’t go to there. :)

  17. This sounds incredible! I pureed some butternut squash and added it to my mac and cheese last week. It was absurdly delicious!

  18. That looks scrumptious. Would love to try it out :)

  19. Oh my, this looks incredible! LOVING the pasta posts…my favorite food!

  20. Oh my gosh, this sounds amazing! I am forwarding this to my best friend.

    Unfortunately for me and my time constraints, canned pumpkin is hard to come by in Paris.

  21. this looks so yummy. maybe the perfect recipe for a covered dish thanksgiving celebration.