Pumpkin Mac ‘n Cheese

I know the unofficial official start of fall is next week, buuuut I just couldn’t wait to get a jump on pumpkin season this year! Nothing says fall, Thanksgiving and football season to me, like burnt orange, pumpkin and my favorite pair of boots.

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What better way to add a seasonal flavor to your favorite comfort food than pumpkin mac ‘n cheese! After searching through a few recipes, I decided to put my own twist on this favorite with extra pumpkin, no butter and spice it up with cayenne!

For this recipe, you’ll need:
 2 cups of rotini or elbow macaroni (I used whole wheat)
1 cup heavy cream
 1 cup low fat shredded mozzarella (or any cheese that melts well!)
1 cup pumpkin purée
1/4 cup crushed pecans
 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and Black pepper

Makes about 6 hearty servings.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

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 Start by brining the pasta to boil. Cook until al dente.

In a separate pot, combine heavy cream, pumpkin purée and spices. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 5 minutes.

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Next, turn off the heat and add the shredded cheese. Stir until smooth.

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Add in the crushed pecans and drained pasta (do not rinse the pasta). The hot noodles will help everything melt together. Combine until pasta is evenly covered in cheesy, pumpkin goodness.

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 Place pasta into a baking dish coated with non-stick spray. Top with Parmesan and panko bread crumbs. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until bread crumbs are brown and crunchy.

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Serve this pumpkin mac ‘n cheese up hot! The pecans give a great crunch and the cayenne turns up the heat. Reduce cayenne by half if you prefer a milder flavor.

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Enjoy! And happy *almost* fall!!

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1 Comment

  1. Courtney Standerfer (@cstanderfer) August 30, 2012

    is it pumpkin-ny? It sounds a little strange. I guess I can’t stop thinking pumpkie pie filling vs canned pumpkin.

    Reply

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