Fall Pumpkin Invasion: Pumpkin Mac & Cheese
The calendar says it’s October (and so does the 40 degree morning we had) so the scriptures of food blogging compel me to load up on pumpkin recipes. I roasted my first pumpkin of the fall two weeks ago and am currently making my way through my second. Last year we made pumpkin mac and cheese but were disappointed with the result. It was far too pumpkin-y so I set out to find the right balance between pumpkin and cheese.
I’m happy to report that this recipe did just that and it was even better when I realized I had inadvertently taken a picture of smiley face. I mashed the roasted pumpkin to make sure it wasn’t too stringy and it incorporated very well into the cheese sauce. I baked most of it in a larger pan but put a few in some ramekins that we got as a wedding present to get servings with crispier edges.
I took this for lunch to work on Wednesday and after I had packed my lunch I sat down at my computer to see what exciting things I had missed on the internet since I went to sleep. Turns out, a lot! I had a facebook message from a friend telling me that a link to my Photoshop Phriday posts had been tweeted by Brian Cook, the head of (exceptionally popular) Michigan sports blog MGoBlog. Somehow he stumbled upon them through Google image search. I started publishing those posts because I was making the photoshops anyways and thought it would be nice extra content, but here it was somehow being discovered and shared with the perfect group!
Despite the fact that it was sent out at 12:30 AM, from 12-1 AM on October 1st I had 740 pageviews on the site, which is about 2 weeks worth for me. I was really excited for so many people to see things here and hopefully get a much needed laugh after everything that has been going on surrounding Michigan athletics. So if you are a new reader here, welcome!
When the day was over the site registered 1,144 unique visitors who saw a total of 1,940 pages. As of Sunday night this represents just under 7.8% of my all time page views…in 1 day! To be fair for about the first 4 or 5 months I ran this I was happy to get 1 visitor a day (most days now it is aroudn 25-30). Now with may more content people find there way here from a variety of places whether it is pinterest, twitter, facebook, reddit, wordpress, or other blogs. However you found your way here, I am happy to have you as a reader and hope you enjoy this mac and cheese!
- 1 box (16 oz) macaroni pasta (I like cavatappi)
- 3 Tbsp butter
- ¼ C AP flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 Tbsp dry mustard
- ⅛ tsp nutmeg
- 2 C milk
- 1½ C pumpkin puree
- 2½ C grated cheddar cheese, divided (2 C and ½ C)
- Preheat the oven to 375°F and butter and flour a 13x9 glass baking dish.
- Cook the pasta until al dente according to package instructions. Drain, rinse with cold water, then drain again and set aside.
- In a large saucepan over medium heat melt the butter. Add the flour and stir continuously for about three minutes until smooth. In a slow stream pour in 1 cup of the milk while whisking. Continue to stir until there are no lumps.
- When smooth add in the rest of the milk gradually in addition to salt, pepper, nutmeg, and mustard. Keep on medium heat and stir every 30-45 seconds for about 10 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.
- Remove from the heat and add in two cups of the cheese. When the cheese has melted add in the pumpkin. In a large bowl combine the pumpkin cheese sauce and the pasta.
- Mix until well combined then transfer to the baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup of cheese over the top.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden brown and crisp.